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SA Libs promise $100m for home battery subsidy scheme

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tesla storage south australia

South Australia’s Liberal opposition party has laid its energy policy cards on the table ahead of the up-coming state poll, including the promise to create a $100 million household battery fund – and $200 million to fast-track a new interconnector to NSW – if elected in March.

Opposition leader Steven Marshall said the battery fund would provide means-tested grants averaging $2,500 to help up to 40,000 homes buy and install battery storage, the cost of which remains out of reach for most households – although that is rapidly changing.

The Liberal party plan offers the latest illustration that energy has become the defining issue in both state and federal politics, as parties grab for votes by promising to rein in soaring electricity prices.

Marshall said helping SA households to install battery storage – a technology Marshall said had been “left alone” by the Weatherill government – was aimed at increasing the return on investment many South Australian households had already made by installing rooftop solar.

“Plenty of people have invested in solar on their roofs,” Marshall said. “What we don’t have is the ability for most people to access adequate storage to be able to use that energy when they need it.

“We want to create that storage opportunity for them in their households, but we also think this can create some opportunities down the track for the producers to be storing that energy and pushing it into the grid when the prices are high across South Australia.

“That will increase the return on the investment they have made,” he said.

The means-tested plan may be welcomed by Australia’s energy storage sector, which is preparing for a much-forecast boom in home and business battery installations that is expected to gather pace over the coming couple of years.

South Australia is already at the centre of several significant storage projects, including the Tesla “big battery”, the 30MW/8MWh installation planned for the Wattle Point wind farm, the AGL “virtual power plant”, a similar trial by SA Power Networks, a limited support scheme from the Adelaide Council supported by the state government, and any number of battery storage projects in the pipeline.

The Weatherill government has endured sustained attacks from both the state Coalition and the federal LNP for its strong support for renewable energy generation, the “reckless pursuit” of which the Turnbull government has sought to blame for the entire nation’s power price woes.

For his part, Marshall is sticking to the federal Coalition script in the lead-up to the March 2018 election, and said that while supporting storage, there would be no further pursuit of a state renewables policy, although that seems all but redundant since S.A. has already reached its 50 per cent renewable share.

As well as the battery subsidisation fund, SA Liberal has promised to establish a $200 million interconnection fund, giving the installation of a new cable connecting SA to NSW top priority.

Marshall also said a Liberal government would keep up the state Labor government’s lease of nine diesel generators to provide backup capacity and prevent blackouts over the next two summers.

It would not, he added, proceed with an option to purchase the generators, but would instead pay operators of private generators to provide backup capacity.  

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  • Chris Fraser

    Good folk of SA , be very skeptical. The recent rhetoric on alternative solutions is too much like the federal Coalition’s.

  • howardpatr

    Suggest that if this proceeds the SA governments needs to bulk buy to get battery costs closer to the cost of batteries in EVs.

  • Joe

    Oh dear, the Marshall now crab walking his way towards Premier Jay’s way of thinking. I trust that the Marshall has run his battery idea past Turnbull and Frydenberg so that they can all have their speaking notes in sync for the next time that they all bagout Premier Jay and his RE agenda.

    • solarguy

      Well of course, what other conclusion can an intelligent make.

      • Rod

        I just spilled my coffee. Did you use Marshall and intelligent in the same sentence?

        • solarguy

          Relax Rod, It was in the context that Joe had worked out the coming attack on Jay. And no I didn’t even mention Marshall.

          • Joe

            …the Marshall…Vote 1 Labor. Love the Marshall with not a bad word in that 17 secs against Premier Jay and his RE plans…love the Marshall.

          • solarguy

            I love the mistake………gold. But what a drop kick and goes to show the blue bloods are daft! All those centuries of inbreeding I suppose.

  • Ian

    Normally we see the Coalition in a race to the bottom for climate and energy issues.
    This offer looks good, though likely to be a mirage.

  • JIm

    SA renewable energy target is symbolic anyway so it’s removal is benign unless the feel-good factor it may create in certain quarters morphs into anti-renewable policy with teeth.

    • Rod

      We have already exceeded the 50% target and with about 700MW in the works any threat to remove or lower the target is idiotic. In fact, the State Lieberals as one of their election policies has a target below the current actual installed amount.
      Maybe they are planning a “windmill pull” which seems to be the standard cry from the Advertiser shills.

      • JIm

        Victorian Libs wind farm restrictions spring to mind but let’s hope for best. SA is progressive state right!

  • George Darroch

    I don’t believe them. This is the salad beside the pie to make it look healthy, and it will probably come in limp and soggy, or not at all.

  • Rod

    Surprise, surprise, the SA liberals want to privatise energy assets even before we have paid for them!
    This to me is the part of our energy plan that scares the Neoliberals the most. We can’t have Governments Nationalising energy assets.

    • Tom

      I noticed that too. Privatise, privatise, privatise. Haven’t they learned anything??

      • Rod

        More importantly, have the SA voters learned anything…I fear they haven’t.

  • Pete

    Does the link to NSW seem a bit pointless? NSW can’t meet its own summer peak demand at the moment and it may struggle even more post 2022 depending on what happens with Liddel (extending it may be worse for reliability). However if Lidddel closes then in summer RE or gas will set the marginal price in NSW so I don’t see a financial incentive compared to SA’s current gen-fleet. I fear SA would inherit issues from NSW lack of forward planning. Am I missing something? Maybe DL will give us a blog explaining it.

    • George Darroch

      This could have the effect of making SA’s electricity both more expensive and less reliable at peak. Amazing.

    • Joe

      The Link will be important for NSW. Premier Jay and SA will be sending their excess electricity to NSW to keep the NSW lights on when Liddell crashes out in the next heatwave!

      • RobertO

        No way, the price of coal for Japan is currently being talk about at $110 per ton free on board ship at Newcastle. They will export it before they let NSW power stations burn it. We will crash when we have the next warm day. There currently about 4000 MW name plate RE being built in Australia (in the NEM).

    • solarguy

      Well not really pointless, excess wind and solar now and into the future could be utilized. And that’s a two way street, going forward.

      • Peter Kretschmer

        I see your point, ultimately in the future I see that need but NSW is a long-way from having periods of excess RE to export. In SA AEMO already curtails wind production because a lack of local spinning-reserve (sorry I’m not an elec eng.) on windy days. To replace gas as the spinning-reserve it is advancing down the path of looking at its own storage options which could then contribute to the spinning-reserve. For the few days the Heywood Interconnector is already at export capacity it may A) not be profitable to build it and B) be a disincentive to build local storage because the arbitrage won’t be available due to NSW coal power imports on all the other days.

    • BushAxe

      It will happen as the link will open up a huge region that is ripe for GW’s of solar as well as encouraging more wind generation in SA. We need more interconnectivity between the states to balance out the effects of the weather and make better use of each region’s natural resources. The Libs ‘fasttracking’ is a rubbish statement as the decision to build it will be made as soon as it’s approved.

  • mick

    these are the useless p—- that recently wanted to keep alinta open after a former premier sold off etsa and have bagged labor for what i would call pro active policies that said the state has a pretty good shot at the alternative libs taking balance of power mr x

  • solarguy

    Beware of hungry big biz leaning Liberals bearing gifts!

  • Richie

    Since when has any Liberal government been remotely interested in solving the climate change problem? The SA opposition no doubt secretly hold the deep-seated beliefs of the climate deniers as exemplified by ABBOTT. I would not trust them to keep such a promise. Just look at TURNBULL and how he has abrogated any semblance of a climate conscience since he became PM. I will never EVER vote for a Liberal again after their record of reckless opposition to anything that might transition us to a new renewable based economy. They are an absolute disgrace. They should never (NOT EVER) be forgiven for holding back Australia’s progress for so long.

  • RobertO

    It a very good “PROMISE”! New battery for households saving $2500 (means tested)
    I have so much faith in our pollies (of the LIES they tell). An interconnect is a different story but at that price you will only get a couple of KW transferred. If they build from near Ceduna (with a spur down to Pt Lincoln) across to Broken Hill and then on to Cobar (with a spur into Lithgow hence Sydney) then to Wilton in Queensland. The COALition will never do that because it would be they are against RE (built as a CREZ it would give SA, NSW and Qld access to large volume if RE which is where we need to go). All the NEM need big Transmission to get excess power to other parts of the NEM. NSW wind is about 24 hr behind SA wind. H2O plus wind in Tassie, Bass Link2. We also need to move our high energy consumers to places where there is lots of spare energy, not transport the energy to them.

  • Tom

    I don’t for a minute believe that the 40,000 subsidised home battery promise will be fulfilled, but let’s pretend that we believe it for a minute.

    What Steve Marshall has described is a really advanced form of distributed energy and demand management.

    ““We want to create that storage opportunity for them in their households, but we also think this can create some opportunities down the track for the producers to be storing that energy and pushing it into the grid when the prices are high across South Australia. That will increase the return on the investment they have made,” he said.”

    Marshall has suggested that, in return for the subsidy, the network has the right to tap into your stored energy when “the price is high”, and pay you something like the wholesale market price.

    If each of these 40,000 batteries could be tapped at 5kW, this could provide the grid with an extra 200MW for an hour or so, and the consumers could be paid up to $14/kWh for their services.

    Synthetic inertia services could even be snuck onto these batteries for free. A few kW pumped in or sucked out for a few seconds at a time to keep the frequency and phase stable – no-one would even notice.

  • MaxG

    Do not believe a word coming from the Liar and Numbnuts Party… but then 505 voted for these clowns last time.