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ACT to support 36MW battery storage as part of next gen technology push

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The ACT government has decided to accelerate the introduction of battery storage and plans to support the installation of 36MW of battery storage capacity in Canberra homes and businesses over the next four years, as part of a next generation renewables auction program that will start next year.

The ACT, which is aiming to have 90 per cent of its electricity supplied by renewable energy by 2020, and 100 per cent by 2025, earlier this year called for expressions of interest in next generation solar technology so it could decide how it would proceed with its proposed tender.

After looking at the options and ideas presented, ACT minister for the environment Simon Corbell and his team has decided to go down the path of encouraging battery storage in homes and businesses, a program he says will keep the ACT at the cutting edge of innovation in its continued support of renewable energy.

He says it will result in around 36MW of battery storage rolled out in more than 5,000 Canberra homes and business over the next four years.

That makes it the most ambitious national program to date for battery storage, bettering a program announced earlier this year by the Adelaide City Council and later supported by the South Australian government.

However, the ACT government’s decision will be sure to disappoint supporters, advocates and developers of large-scale solar plus storage technology, particularly the local and international companies developing solar towers and storage.

The ACT auction process attracted nearly 1,000MW of project proposals. Some had considered it the best chance of getting solar tower and storage built in Port Augusta, where the last of South Australia’s coal-fired generators are to retire early next year.

rsz_dawn-at-solarreserve-crescent-dunes-nevada

Solar Reserve, the US company completing the structure of the world’s largest solar tower and storage plant, the 110MW Crescent Dunes facility in Tonopah, Nevada, was one of the bidders.

However, it appears that battery storage behind the meter offered the best value for the ACT government.

The ACT will start with a pilot program that will award $600,000 in grants – through an auction process – for companies installing distributed solar plus storage in homes and businesses.

The next generation renewables strategy will be supported by a fourth reverse auction for 109MW of renewable energy in 2016, which will take the ACT to its initial target of 90 per cent renewable energy by 2020. This is on top of the 200MW of wind already awarded, the 200MW of wind about to be announced, and 50MW of large-scale solar PV also already awarded.

Under the auction, proponents of the fourth reverse auction of 109MW will be required to contribute funding that will then be awarded through a concurrent competitive auction to install distributed storage in the ACT.

Corbell says the global battery storage market is predicted to be worth $400 billion by 2030, and he wants the ACT to be a launching pad for both national and international businesses.


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  • Stan Hlegeris

    Et tu, Giles?

    You of all people would know that “36MW of storage” is meaningless.

    “Storage” implies an amount of ENERGY. You measure stored energy in MWh. I imagine that’s what you mean here: that the facility can store 36MWh.

    If so, at what rate can that stored energy be used to deliver POWER? At 1MW for 36 hours? At 18MW for 2 hours? This is essential to understanding what’s going on here.

    Forgive me the upper case and cranky tone, but it’s too late in history for an authoritative newsletter such as this one to overlook the difference between power and energy.

    • john

      Stan I would guess it is aimed at the 7KWh of stored energy or perhaps up to 10, per household / business, with demand deliver of perhaps 3 Kw just a wild guess I suppose it depends on the submissions made by the companies.

    • juxx0r

      Greentechmedia are using the same units as Giles here. I’m with you, the primary unit of storage is how much is stored. Lets stick with that as the necessary measure and the power as the optional, preferably both

      • suthnsun

        I think it depends on the context to determine what will be the relevant ‘primary’ unit. I suspect we will be more interested in power for stationary storage within the grid. If we build out wind to a reasonable distributed level and keep the network intelligently upgraded, the aggregate parameter of most interest will be the standby power available when the low points of aggregate wind generation are seen. We have already a notional 7gw hydro generation capability, so if we keep storage levels high there (by design) we probably only need a few more gig to fill in the gaps and provide grid services and that will be predicated more on power delivery.

    • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

      Really Stan, how many times do we have to go through this. Governments often mandate battery storage in MW terms rather than MWh. California energy department is prime example (1.3GW mandate). I would prefer to use MWh terms, but i would have to make up a number, because they don’t provide one.

      • Stan Hlegeris

        With all due respect, we have to go through this until we get it right. I appreciate that government press releases will get the units wrong, but I don’t think that expecting an expert such as yourself to get it right is asking too much.

        As your reader, I still don’t know how much energy this system will store nor do I do know how much power it can deliver. Aren’t those facts important enough to hunt them down?

        • suthnsun

          Can MW mean anything other than power?

          • Stan Hlegeris

            No, it can’t. That’s why you can’t use it to describe a storage system in any meaningful way.

            You could stick enough AA batteries in series to deliver one MW for an instant. That would be useless and pointless (if fun), but it could deliver a mega-watt.

            What Giles seems to be saying is that the tenders call for a level of power, in MW, leaving it to the tenderers to decide how much energy they’ll offer to provide at that power. Of course, as you’re about to point out, that makes no sense at all.

        • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

          Stan, that’s what I am trying to say. These tenders, in ACT, Germany, California and elsewhere are expressed by the energy departments in MW. They won’t know how many MWh until the tenders are completed.

      • JeffJL

        Looks like a few more times Giles. Stan probably still has Betamax at his home.

  • john

    Have I read this correctly?
    $600,000 for 5000 installations of solar and storage, which would be $120 per installation I guess that would cover the cost of the permits and inspection or perhaps the metering needed.
    Or is it much better than that say about a quarter of the installs which would be $480 each which would be of help granted.

    • http://www.reneweconomy.com Giles

      $600,000 for the trial. The rest of funding will come from contributions from the large scale auction winners.

  • Ricardo_62

    sorry folks, but I’m still a little confused, are they looking for “distributed
    energy storage of a size to be determined, with the ability to deliver power at a rate of up to 36MW”?

  • BeyondZeroEmissions

    ACT households considering joining the trial, as with all battery folk, could do well to think about whether electric vehicle(s) will be added to the energy demand, when, and if daytime charging will be your norm. Also look at the ATA analysis with battery cost curves for a variety of scenarios and look out for our brand new Electric Vehicles report in Feb 2016.

    Till then happy hols to all and thankyou to the whole Renew team for all you do.

    ATA : http://www.ata.org.au/news/grid-connected-batteries-economically-attractive-by-2020-ata-report