A parliamentary inquiry into the potential for a battery storage “boom” in Australia, both to drive further uptake of distributed renewables and to boost the resilience of the grid, will be conducted after a motion put by the Australian Greens was passed in the Senate on Wednesday afternoon.
The Select Committee Inquiry into Resilience of Electricity Infrastructure in a Warming World was proposed by the Greens in response to the recent extreme weather events and resulting “system black” event in South Australia.
According to the motion, the Committee – whose chair and deputy chair will be chosen by the Greens and Labor, respectively – will inquire into the role of storage technologies and distributed generation in improving the resilience of electricity networks in the face of increasing extreme weather events like the South Australia storm.
It is expected to recommend measures to be taken by federal, state and local governments to fast-track the rollout of battery storage technologies, to stimulate demand, create jobs complement renewables and drive the reduction in costs through economies of scale.
The Inquiry is also expected to focus on the opportunity for Australia to be a global leader in storage technologies – a potential many global battery developers have long since recognised in Australia’s high electricity prices and world-leading rooftop solar uptake.
“Severe storms have battered the southern states in recent weeks and we’ve seen the supply of energy in South Australia take a hit as a result,” Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“The relentless march of dangerous global warming means that these sorts of extreme weather events will only become more common in the future.
“Investing in localised energy storage represents a massive opportunity for Australia at this critical stage in the transition to renewable energy sources, but we need to investigate how the government
can help make it happen.
“The government says its most important job is to keep the lights on and it’s becoming increasingly clear that household and business battery storage will play a crucial role in that.
“An Australian ‘Battery Boom’ will bring jobs and increased energy security to families and businesses across the country.
“This inquiry will be focussed on practical action that can be taken by government right now, because talk is cheap and more hot air from blowhard politicians won’t power our country into the future.”
The committee will be established by early February 2017 will be made up of seven senators, two nominated by the the federal government, three nominated by the ALP, and one each nominated by the Greens and independent senators.