The ACT government has opened its latest auction for large scale wind and solar projects, seeking proposals that will provide financial support for the biggest deployment of battery storage outside of Germany.
The auction will seek capacity of 109MW of wind and solar projects, and other technologies, with winning bidders required to provide finance totalling up to $25 million for the installation of 36MW of battery storage to support solar PV installed in homes and businesses in the capital territory.
Environment and climate change minister Simon Corbell said the money from the large scale auction – effectively around $240,000 for each MW of capacity installed – should be enough to help subsidise the roll out of battery storage in more than 5,000 homes and businesses.
“PV-battery storage will revolutionise the renewable energy sector by storing renewable energy so it is on demand exactly when we need it, reducing the need for network investment,” Corbell said.
“It means households can capture the maximum value of the energy they are producing and I am excited that the ACT is once again at the forefront of investment and innovation in this sector.”
The auction of large scale renewable energy will also take the ACT to its target of 90 per cent renewable energy by 2020. It has already conducted auctions for 50MW of solar capacity, and two auctions of 200MW of wind capacity.
One solar farm, the 20MW Royalla project (pictured above) has been completed, while another is being built, one wind farm in Victoria is already generating electricity and two other wind projects in Victoria and South Australia are being built. Other projects in NSW are still in planning stages.
The ACT government says the new large scale capacity auction will be open to proposals from both wind and solar generators, but will not be restricted to those technologies.
“With new technologies arising frequently, consideration will also be given to expanding the definition of eligible generators, possibly expanding the types of technology able to be used in the project.”
The ACT auction process has underpinned nearly all the investment in large scale wind and solar in Australia in recent years, with the main federal mechanism, the renewable energy target, at a standstill after investors and developers lost faith in the process after the Coalition government reviewed and then cut the target.
The auction process has elicited the lowest bids for wind generation in the country by inviting offers for fixed, 20 year contracts. Winning bids were also judged on their proposals to boost industry in Canberra, with many supporting R&D or moving their headquarters to the national capital.
Corbell says this has resulted in more than $400 million in local investment being secured for the territory.
The new auction process will require bidders to provide cash funding of the battery storage program, which in turn will hold it own capacity auctions for the next four years to seek ongoing price reductions and technology improvements.
One pilot auction has already been held, with the results to be announced in coming weeks.
“It is exciting to see the 90% renewable energy target on-track to be completed on time and with minimal flow-on cost for the Canberra community,” Corbell said in a statement.
The cost to householders to achieve the ACT’s 90% renewable energy target remains around $5 per household per week, which is offset by government mandated energy efficiency programs.
The request for proposals opens today and closes on May 13, with an industry briefing to be held in early April.