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South Australia seeks battery storage proposals from short-list

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South Australia says it is seeking final proposals for its battery storage tender from candidates short-listed from the more than 90 expressions of interest received last month.

The state earlier this year announced its intention of putting in up to 100MW/MWh of battery storage onto its grid by the start of next summer to help ensure there were no repeats of the blackouts or load-shedding that occurred over the last 9 months.

Mira-Loma-Substation-Tesla-Battery-Storage-Facility

The EOI request elicited more than 90 proposals from Australia and overseas, and a similar tender in Victoria attracted more than 100 expressions of interest, highlighting the potential rapid shift to battery storage in Australia’s grid.

Among those expressing interest were most of the major battery storage manufacturers and providers, including Tesla – whose CEO and founder Elon Musk is in Australia this week – along with AES, Kokam, Greensmith, LG Chem and others.

Companies such as Zen Energy, Carnegie Clean Energy, AGL, 1460 and others were among those to make submissions.

Already, many developers, analysts and utilities are saying that battery storage, combined with renewable energy such as wind and solar, is cheaper than existing gas-fired generation.

Battery storage can provide numerous services, including load shifting, frequency control, and emergency back-up.

“The shortlisted bidders have now received the request for proposal documents, with responses due early this month,” energy minister Tom Koutsantonis told RenewEconomy in an emailed statement.

“A final decision on the successful bidder will be made as soon as possible after responses are received, with the project expected to be completed by 1 December.”

The government is also reviewing its separate energy security target legislation, which is designed to ensure that 36 per cent of demand is supplied by local dispatchable generation, rising to 50 per cent by 2050.

There has been criticism of the criteria for the EST, which at the moment stipulates only “real inertia”, which appears to rule out battery storage paired with wind or solar farms in favour of spinning turbines in gas, hydro or solar thermal plants.

Musk earlier this year promised that he could deliver a 100MW battery storage system “within 100 days”, although presumably that did not include the time taken to identify, secure and approve a site, and contracts.

Tesla, AES and Greensmith all rolled out large battery storage arrays in Los Angeles within a few months of signing a deal with local utility California Edison earlier this year.  

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  • Mike Dill

    While battery storage is not yet the cheapest option by far, it can be put in place this year. Getting some experience with this storage will be very worthwhile, and I expect that ‘peak’ wholesale electric prices will be lower in SA next winter as the storage will be able to bid into the market.

  • Chokyi Nyingpo

    I would be more interested in this article if it actually named those on the short-list.

    • Gary Rowbottom

      Strict tender protocols would not allow that. A little surprising that the progression to shortlisting appears to have been made public.

  • Joe

    Lovely to see that Treasurer Tom and Premier Jay are continually walking the talk on the issue of RE in contrast to Big Mal who just talks the talk.

    • Shane White

      They walk the talk on all kinds of energy, dirty and clean. Is that what we need? Not that this story is about RE – it’s a battery.

  • DJR96

    This whole concept and disbelief that a battery/inverter system has no “inertia” is BS.
    They actually have “infinite inertia” up to their capacity. The terminology alone seems to have become the preclusion to their use.