Eight energy companies win ACT battery storage auction

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ACT names 8 winners of $2m funding to roll-out 2MW solar-integrated battery storage across 600+ homes and businesses.

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The ACT government has announced the winners of the second round of its battery storage auction, part of a nation-leading plan to deploy 36MW of cutting edge distributed battery storage in more than 5,000 Territory homes and businesses by 2020.

The eight winners of the tender – ActewAGL Retail, Energy Matters, EPC Solar, Evergen, ITP Renewables, Origin Energy, Power Saving Centre and Solarhub – will share in $2 million of grant funding to roll out the technology at subsidised rates.

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ACT environment minister Simon Corbell said on Thursday the grants package would support the distribution of more than 2MW of solar-integrated storage across more than 600 Canberra homes and businesses.

The technology the companies will be offering through the scheme has not yet been revealed, but RenewEconomy has put in a request for more information. In the scheme’s $600,000 pilot round, Tesla, Panasonic, LG Chem and Reposit Power won the tender to deliver lower cost storage systems to 200 Canberra households.

Of course, the ACT has also led the nation with its series of hugely successful reverse auctions for large-scale renewable energy, which have locked in some of the lowest prices for wind energy ever obtained in Australia.

Indeed, in April this year, Corbell increased the size of the ACT’s third wind energy auction from 109MW to 200MW, in an effort to boost the Territory’s renewable energy target from 90 per cent to 100 per cent by 2020.

More recently, the focus has broadened to battery storage, the roll out of which Corbell describes as an “important complementary strategy” to the ACT’s 100 per cent renewables target, while also informing “critical research and development” on the transition of Australia’s electricity grid.

“Batteries will be called on to provide additional technical services to the grid such as helping to manage short term intermittency in generation as well as voltage and frequency fluctuations,” Corbell said in a statement on Thursday.

For the consumer, installing a smart battery with one of the successful companies will offer a discount of up to $825 for each kilowatt of peak sustained output for a battery system connected to a new or existing solar system, Corbell said.

“The ability of smart batteries to provide extra services to the grid also promises additional income streams for households and businesses.”

Corbell said the battery storage tender had meant that Canberrans had gained access to world-class technology, some of which had been developed in the ACT.

“The Canberra community are early adopters of new technology and are embracing solar and battery storage,” he said. “Feedback from participants is that, in addition to reducing their energy bills, they are getting access to more information about their energy usage patterns which is leading to further energy savings actions in their homes.”

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8 Comments
  1. Andrew Woodroffe 3 years ago

    And yet again, the numbers have no meaning, 36MW of storage means what? 36MW for a second, a minute, an hour, a day? Storage always needs to have the units of electrical storage, kWh otherwise you are just talking charge/discharge rates useful for discussing frequency control, maybe.

    Has journalism totally died?

    • Chris B 3 years ago

      36MW is how much instantaneous power the storage batteries can provide. Power and total discharge cycles are the key figures of merit when selling to ancilliary markets for frequency control and “spinning” reserve.

      Energy storage for any duration longer than 30 minutes has almost no economic value on the NEM.

    • David Osmond 3 years ago

      While I also have a preference that MWh be the units used for storage, you can’t really blame journalism, the ACT Government specified the auction in
      terms of MW. But they also said the batteries had to have the capability to sustain the power for at least an hour. So 36 MW means at least 36 MWh. As Chris B mentions, the ACT Government determined that short-term peaking capability was more important than longer term sustained power delivery.

      • Brunel 3 years ago

        For how many years do they want the 36 MW.

        If 2 years, a battery with a cycle life of only 1000 cycles will do.

        If 10 years, the battery will have to do a lot more than 3000 cycles.

    • Giles 3 years ago

      Hey, it’s the ACT government that specified 36MW, using the capacity measure used by california, for the central grid in the US, and by the UK, German and French government when they have done similar auctions. Blame a journalist if you like, but they can’t know the MWh until they have had the auction, and it is up to the battery owners to see what sort of configuration might fit the market they bidding in to. In the same way that solar and wind are bid in capacity, but the production may vary. But when governments want a specific generation, then that is the auction they set, as in 160GWh etc etc.

      • Brunel 3 years ago

        I think solar power auctions are conducted in $ per MWh.

        That is why solar power auctions are so wonderful.

      • Andrew Woodroffe 3 years ago

        Ok, perhaps I was a bit unfair. I had also read about the UK and Californian auctions. The networks are after anxilliary services and looking at very short term storage to deliver it. But could not existing large scale (because excellent comms are required) solar and wind (if Enercons/invertor – Mt Millar in SA) do this by injecting or absorbing VARS?

        My thinking on storage is for shifting midday solar generation into the evening, behind the meter, so as to play with retail prices not wholesale. The advantage being $193/MWh (minus round trip losses) for self consumption versus export – in WA. With interest rates being so low, it has got to be getting economic soon.

        On the WA STEM, over winter, we have been getting price differentials of over $150/MWh twice a day . . .http://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/Wholesale-Electricity-Market-WEM/Data-dashboard#weekly-numbers-balancing-price

  2. MJ 3 years ago

    Who will be the lucky 200 households to receive these batteries? and why is it only in the ACT?

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