Community batteries to help power thousands of homes

As many as 100,000 households could be powered by batteries after a $143 million investment in shared renewable energy storage.

The investment from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency is expected to support the installation of 370 devices across all states and the Northern Territory in the first round of Community Battery scheme.

The announcement comes in addition to 58 community batteries under development in a separate government funding scheme and after the Australian Energy Market Operator called for greater use of batteries and their co-ordination with the grid.

Agency chief executive Darren Miller said investment would be used to co-fund 21 projects selected after 140 expressions of interest in the scheme.

“We are encouraged to see this important asset class being demonstrated at such a scale and expecting that this funding round will kickstart the neighbourhood-scale storage sector,” he said.

Mr Miller said consumers expected to benefit from the batteries would include households, hospitals, schools, sports facilities, shopping centres and regional and remote communities.

Together, the 370 batteries are expected to boost energy capacity by 281 megawatt hours.

NSW and Queensland will have the greatest number of community batteries rolled out as part of the scheme, with 95 and 69 batteries respectively, followed by Victoria and Western Australia.

Western Power energy transition and sustainability executive Matt Cheney said the investment would accelerate the company’s plans for community batteries, which it began deploying in 2018.

“Not only will it help reduce or remove barriers to future deployment of much-needed storage on the network, it will also assist in building the required industry capability,” he said.

The investment comes one week after the Australian Energy Market Operator released its 2024 energy blueprint that found Australia should reach 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

But the report also recommended the deployment of more batteries to store renewable energy and work to ensure household batteries were “well co-ordinated” with the grid to avoid unnecessary investments.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is expected to announce a second round of funding for community batteries later in 2024.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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