Australia's big battery market set to add "at least" 500MWh in 2020 | RenewEconomy

Australia’s big battery market set to add “at least” 500MWh in 2020

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Australia’s grid-scale battery market had record 2019 and on track to sail past 500MWh in 2020 – at least double the new capacity of residential sector.

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Australia’s grid-scale battery market had a record year in 2019 and is expected to sail past 500MWh in 2020 and add at least double the amount of new energy storage capacity as the nation’s residential sector.

The latest annual Australia Battery Market report from SunWiz (available here) says a total of just over 143MWh of commercial and grid-scale batteries was installed in 2019, eclipsing the 69MWh installed in 2018.

Not only did this number combine with residential installs to deliver a whole-of-market record for 2019, but it was a record for non-residential scale deployment, with four projects combined delivering as much capacity as the Hornsdale Power Reserve – South Australia’s Big Battery.

“This was a record year for battery installation,” said SunWiz managing director and report author Warwick Johnston. “The residential capacity decreased, but this was offset by an increase in non-residential battery capacity to reach a new record year.”

And while the cumulative tally for Australian battery installations for 2015-2019 puts residential storage well ahead of non-residential at 738MWh and 361MWh respectively, this trend is expected to be flipped in 2020.

According to the report, and as detailed in the table below, SunWiz expects “at least 500MWh of non-residential storage to come online in 2020, dwarfing the 143MWh record commissioned in 2019.

“This could almost double if Kiamal adds storage,” the report notes, and further projects could be driven by the NSW Emerging Energy program

RenewEconomy notes there are a number of projects that did not make the SunWiz list that are a chance to come online this year, or next, including the 600MW Victoria Big Battery (no MWh details yet) proposed by Neoen and Mondo Power.

The NT government has also recently reveled plans to tender for a $30 million battery likely to be sized around 35MW and with around 30 minutes of storage, to save on the costs of gas for what’s known as “spinning reserve”.

And as RenewEconomy has reported, major utility Origin Energy has told investors it is considering battery storage for four of its existing facilities – the Darling Downs gas generator in Queensland, the Eraring coal and Uranquinty gas generators in NSW, and the Mortlake gas generator in Victoria.

A fifth project, a 300MW solar plus battery proposal called Morgans, is located in South Australia, where there is a growing number of similarly-scal battery projects proposed to support new wind and solar developments.

Origin’s rival AGL Energy is also looking at a variety of big battery projects, and has signed a contract for 200MW/400MWh of batteries with the renewable energy developer Maoneng.

EnergyAustralia is also looking at batteries, and currently has contracts for both the Gannawarra and Ballarat batteries in Victoria, while Alinta Energy, which operates a battery next to its gas turbine in the Pilbara, has signed a contract for the big Solar River solar and battery project in South Australia.

And, as the SunWiz report noted, the NSW government’s emerging renewables program has unearthed 14 different big battery projects for the state, ranging in size from 10MW from Firm Energy all the way up to 250MW at the Buronga energy park proposed by Energy Estate near Mildura.

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