Australia’s love affair with battery energy storage continues as state governments commit to creating facilities that are meant to be environmentally friendly and significantly reduce power bills.
Both Victoria and Queensland have recently announced their latest endeavours into battery energy storage, with the former calling for detailed proposals for large storage facilities in the western part of the state, and the latter extending an innovative battery storage and solar trial in Townsville.
It follows the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s (CEFC) recent announcement that it’s working with the South Australian government to develop a financing package to support the delivery of Australia’s largest grid-scale battery storage project.
That announcement was well timed following a notable summer where the state was plagued with blackouts as existing electricity grids were overwhelmed by the demand as more households and businesses were flicking the air conditioners on.
In Victoria, the Daniel Andrews government announced that it would commit $25 million to support large-scale energy storage, to ‘enhance’ the reliability of its grid and ‘unlock economic growth’ in areas experiencing network restraints.
The Victorian government is seeking detailed proposals to provide two 20MW batteries to be fully developed by January 2018, providing storage capacity of at least 100MHh.
According to the state government, a 20MW battery could power a town the size of Bendigo or Ballarat for up to four hours during a peak demand period and avoid outages.
‘Applicants will be also encouraged to seek funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in parallel to the Victorian initiative, to drive even further investment in new energy technology and energy system reliability in Victoria,’ a release from the state government said.
Acting Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lisa Neville said the state is supporting projects that will integrate existing and new renewable energy generation, storage, distribution and management technologies within the electricity grid.
“We are encouraging significant local and international investment opportunities for businesses to work together in modernising our energy system,” Ms Neville said.
Regarding Queensland’s initiative, Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said the trial which uses new technology, batteries and solar PV to benefit Ergon’s network and potentially lower customers’ power bills has now entered its third stage.
“The trial will explore the advanced functionalities of new home energy management systems, battery storage, solar PV and a new tariff being trialled for the first time,” Mr Bailey said.
“This third stage is an opportunity to see if the combination of all four elements provides a win – a win for Ergon’s customers and its network.”