Monthly Archives: October 2021

Pumped hydro more expensive than batteries: apples-to-apples

A lot of effort in the article in SolarQuotes (that is the subject of the series that starts here) went into avoiding a direct, apples-to-apples comparison between hydro and batteries. That made me wonder what the result of such a comparison would be.

Let’s just jump in. This is what we are working with:

  Snowy Hydro 2.0 Hornsdale battery Victorian Big Battery
Capacity (MW) 2,000 100 300
Storage (MWh) 40,000+ 129 450
Price (million AU$) 10,000 89 180

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Pumped hydro more expensive than batteries: battery replacement(s)

Even when accepting the flawed calculations of Ronald Brakels, it provided only a fragile win for the battery scenario. This prompted him to start a new calculation in order to justify the battery/solar setup. It involves a battery system that is currently being built: the Victorian Big Battery. His reasoning is that battery prices drop rapidly and he also proposes a way to set aside some the initial investment in order to replace the battery at the end of its economical life.

Let’s just jump right in. This is the information he gathered about the Victorian Big Battery:

  • Capacity: 300 MW
  • Storage capacity: 450 MWh
  • Price: AU$180,000,000
    (again no justification for this price tag, just his hunch)

Then he repeats the flawed calculation by calculate the price:

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