The ACT Labor Government has committed to building a 250MW battery system if re-elected, which would be one of the biggest battery storage systems in Australia.
If delivered, the Canberra project would be significantly bigger than the Hornsdale Battery in South Australia, which has been upgraded to hold 150MW of storage.
The Big Canberra Battery will involve a distributed network of batteries that will be built around the city.
As a combined network, the battery system can address network constraints, enable more Canberrans to have solar and shorten the pay-off period of domestic solar systems.
This five-year, $100 million investment is expected to continue driving down energy costs, supporting sustainable national energy infrastructure, facilitate greater community participation in the renewables revolution and ensure economic and environmental benefits for the Territory.
The ACT Labor Government said it will establish an expert team to lead procurement, determine suitable sites and ensure the new batteries provide the greatest economic and environmental benefits.
This will include working with local communities on locations across the city, including co-location near local solar farms, proximity to the transmission network, and ACT Government sites such as the planned zero-emissions bus depot.
The Clean Energy Council said it was supportive of the election commitment, stating that utility-scale batteries would help to smooth the output of wind and solar and provide critical system services, including swift response to frequency changes on the energy system.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said, “It’s great to see a strong commitment by ACT Labor to match its leadership in supporting new renewable energy generation with a big vision for energy storage capability.”
The proposal builds on the two large-scale batteries announced last month as part of the ACT Government’s reverse auction scheme.
“Battery storage can ensure that energy users have access to clean, low-cost renewable electricity 24/7, and government support can accelerate the deployment as the cost of storage comes down,” Mr Thornton said.
The community battery model, like the Big Canberra Battery plan, is emerging as a smart and efficient way to deploy storage.
Energy storage currently accounts for around 6 per cent of Australia’s renewable energy workforce (excluding Western Australia and the Northern Territory), as revealed in the Clean Energy At Work report.
The Clean Energy Council said the election commitment by the ACT Labor Government points to new business models unlocked by the deployment of community-scale batteries including PowerBanks, peer-to-peer trading and power-sharing.