ACT environment minister Simon Corbell has set the wheels in motion for Canberra to become the Australian centre for next generation solar technology, including large-scale storage, with the launch of an expression of interest for 50MW of capacity.
According to a statement released on Wednesday, the initiative seeks to contribute to the wide-spread commercial development of solar technologies – including energy storage – that address issues of reliability and intermittency while supporting renewables development in the Capital Territory.
The expressions of interest will guide the ACT on how they should structure the auction of capacity. Essentially it is about testing which technologies could put up their hand – solar towers with storage, large scale solar PV with storage, or some other option. Numerous parties are known to be interested.
“Our investment in next generation renewable energy technology is an important part of our target of 90 per cent renewable energy by 2020 but it is also critical in continuing the growth of renewable energy jobs and investment in the ACT,” Corbell said.
The new campaign comes just two days after Corbell and his counterparts from various Australian states and territories committed to collaborate on a sub-national level to boost renewables uptake – particularly on a utility-scale – energy efficiency strategies and climate adaptation policies.
One of the main focuses of the Adelaide meeting was on the opportunity for the states to adopt the sort of reverse auction systems successfully deployed by the ACT for 200MW of wind and 40MW of solar, to date.
In its latest call for expressions of interest, the ACT says it wants proposals for a “next generation” solar system – so, one with integrated energy storage, for example – located in or around the ACT, or potentially more broadly in the National Electricity Market.
Information gathered through the EOI process will also be used by government to inform any future schemes which may include direct grants or reverse auction processes, the statement says.
“Cost-effective storage of renewable energy will be a game-changer for the energy industry, and would allow us to keep, for example, energy generated by solar during the day for use at peak times during the evening,” said Corbell.
“There are many options for storage of renewable energy, including battery and thermal storage, and pump and store hydro, and includes fixed storage devices at homes or businesses across the territory.”
Expressions of Interested are invited from today until 3pm, 17 June 2015.