The ACT Government has been buoyed by the amount of interest shown by potential suppliers for its planned Canberra Big Battery, which will support the ongoing rollout of large scale renewables and rooftop solar.
The Canberra Big Battery will be one of Australia’s first ‘big battery’ projects that will consist of a distributed network of smaller battery systems installed throughout the city. The ACT government is aiming to establish a coordinated network of 250MW of battery storage.
“As a combined network, this battery system can address network constraints, enable more Canberrans to reap the benefits of solar and present the opportunity for Government to reduce costs and potentially generate revenue,” ACT chief minister and minister for Climate Action, Andrew Barr, said in a statement.
The ACT government revealed on Wednesday that it had received 42 submissions from suppliers interested in helping to establish the Canberra Big Battery in response to a market sounding process that the government had launched in April.
The battery project, which received $100 million in funding support in the most recent territory budget, is likely to require suppliers of both residential and commercial battery systems, as well as an operator of a virtual power plant platform to coordinate the operation of distributed batteries.
It is expected that the distributed battery system would be used to provide a number of key energy market services, including ancillary services, wholesale electricity price arbitrage, or reserve supply contracts. The ACT is open to suggestions from industry participants about the possible revenue models for the project.
The project is also expected to help facilitate the increased installation of rooftop solar and commercial solar across the ACT, overcoming network constraints and allowing more households to enjoy the financial benefits of solar power.
Barr said that the big battery project would help ensure the ACT remained a key player in the emerging market for clean energy technologies, particularly battery storage.
The government has also indicated that it is open to a wide range of different energy storage technologies and is considering proposals for projects using hydrogen as the main storage medium, in addition to traditional battery technologies.
“The global battery storage market is predicted to be worth $400 billion by 2030, and the high interest in the ACT’s proposed battery system will ensure that the nation’s capital remains at the forefront of a booming industry – supporting new jobs in emerging industries,” Barr said.
The commitment to build the ‘big Canberra battery’ was included as part of a power-sharing agreement struck between the ACT Labor and Greens parties following the ACT election held last year.
The ACT government will release a formal expression of interest for industry partners to participate in a process to develop and identify the key design requirements of a big battery system in the ACT before a formal tender process is commenced.
The distributed ‘big battery’ project is expected to operate in addition to more than 100MW of big battery projects being built within the ACT by project developers Neoen and GPG.
Both Neoen and GPG recently secured contracts to supply the ACT with additional output from two new wind farm projects being developed by the companies. A condition of the offtake agreement signed between the ACT government and the wind farm projects is the construction of a big battery storage project within the ACT borders.
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