Three additional pieces of data, with respect to the (fire-affected) ‘Victorian Big Battery’

For understandable reasons, there’s plenty of interest in yesterday’s fire that affected the ‘Victorian Big Battery’.  I published two sequential articles on this yesterday as follows:

1)  Early in the afternoon I noted ‘Victoria’s new ‘Big Battery’ on Fire’ as Part 1 in what might be an expanding series of articles in this Headline Event.

Readers here might be interested in the comments that followed here on LinkedIn when I shared the article there.

2)  Yesterday evening, with the benefit of a bit more time I posted that it was ‘Not a great start to operations at Victoria’s new ‘Big Battery’!’ with what other details I had found by that time.

Likewise this was also shared on LinkedIn here, and also on Twitter here … but not so much in the way of comments on these ones.


This evening, three quick notes:

(A)  What’s the final situation onsite? … Unknown!

I did hear on news radio this morning that there was some fire still burning this morning … but I’ve not heard much more than that.  So I don’t really know what the situation is onsite.

It’s dated 30th July 2021 (so I am a bit confused, as that was Friday) but this article does say ‘Big Battery continues to burn nearly 24 hours after catching alight’ on Bay 93.9 here:


… so I am guessing that there is a typo in the publication date?

PS – smoke still a factor, Saturday evening 31st July 2021

One of our readers has pointed me to this tweet at 18:07 from Victoria Emergency:


… which, in turn, links to this advice issued about air quality following the fire, which contains this warning:

‘Toxic smoke from a structure fire is currently affecting air quality in the Lovely Banks and Moorabool area.’

So at the very least it seems that the situation is not fully resolved, yet.


(B)  Looking back on Friday’s bids

As I noted in Friday’s first article, the battery was charging at a low rate (having just started commissioning) at the time when the fire started.

Using our ez2view software and navigating back to yesterday’s bid files in the ‘Bids & Offers’ widget to look at the ‘Load’ side of the equation, we see that there was a rebid offered at 10:00 that introduced a 25MW consumption into the market for the remainder of the half hour period:


I’ve illustrated on the widget on the LHS how I’ve selected the two most recent bids and compared them to show the difference in the widget on the RHS.

I wonder whether the fire occurred in a unit that was being charged at the time – or whether the fire was in an unrelated part of the plant?  Again, there is no way of discerning this at this point (I believe?).


(C)  MT PASA DUID Availability

Given I have been using the ‘MT PASA DUID Availability’ widget on frequent occasions from 25th May 2021 following the Callide C4 Catastrophe to ascertain when the nearby C3 unit would return, I thought I’d have a quick look at the batteries currently installed in the NEM to see whether there was anything showing there about when the unit might be back in service:


As we can see here, the unit has no capacity bid into MT PASA at all over the coming 12 weeks – but that this state pre-dated the fire yesterday.

I presume (but don’t know) that the MT PASA bids might only have been entered once the project had been fully commissioned – and it had only started that process yesterday.  This appears also the same for other batteries registered but not yet fully commissioned (Wandoan BESS in QLD, Bulgana BESS in VIC, and Adelaide Desalination Plant BESS).


Nothing more to add today…

About the Author

Paul McArdle
One of three founders of Global-Roam back in 2000, Paul has been CEO of the company since that time. As an author on WattClarity, Paul's focus has been to help make the electricity market more understandable.

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