Nahan says W.A. battery storage ban to be removed within month | RenewEconomy

Nahan says W.A. battery storage ban to be removed within month

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WA energy minister says rule banning homes with battery storage from exporting to grid to be rescinded, and Synergy to make battery storage offerings soon.

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Western Australia energy minister Mike Nahan says a regulation that effectively bans homes with battery storage from feeding power back into the grid will be removed within a month, paving the way for more widespread uptake of the technology.

The ban – imposed by state-owned utilities Western Power and Synergy – was first highlighted by RenewEconomy last month. Since then, it has become a major political issue, leading Nahan to describe the regulation as “red tape gone mad” during a debate in parliament.

Nahan has predicted that rooftop solar will continue to roll out quickly on the state’s homes and businesses, and he says it is growing at 30 per cent a year. Battery storage will also be popular, although he says its are not yet competitive.

Nahan told the ABC this week that the state-owned utility retailer Synergy will offer home battery storage systems when they become affordable, most likely in the middle of 2016, and will seek to match the offering of its privately owned rival Alinta Energy.

“Batteries still are, for most households, not commercial,” Nahan said. “They are coming down in price  but I understand they are experimental.

“[For] certain households and businesses, depending on the consumption, it makes sense – but for the vast majority it does not yet. Synergy and other [companies] … are preparing to get into the market, get an investment, understand it and when batteries come down, they’ll be ready to go.”

The ABC said Synergy will likely be ready to offer the systems to households by the middle of next year, following the launch of a package of solar PV products and energy management solutions for homes and businesses, set to be announced in early 2016.

The W.A. market already has more than 180,000 homes with a total of more than 500MW of rooftop solar, and Nahan has predicted that rooftop solar could meet all of daytime demand within 10 years.

perthWA households are still adding solar at a rate of more than 1,000 homes a month, with nearly 5MW added in the month of September, according to data from the Clean Energy Regulator. The postcodes of the northern suburbs of Perth (6065) and Mandurah (6210) to the south installed more solar than any other area in Australia in September.

Almost all homes and most businesses are expected to install solar, particularly as the government rolls back the subsidy on grid-based power, which still amounts to more than $500 a year for each household.

Alinta can not sell electricity to households until the market is deregulated in mid-2018, so the gas retailer is working around the restriction by selling customers a product to generate electricity, rather than electricity itself.

Dr Nahan said the Government was also set to remove a regulation which prohibits batteries from feeding energy back into the grid, in a move expected to flatten the peaks and troughs of solar power.

“The limit has been the regulator, the ERA,” he said. “I’ve discussed with ERA, Western Power and Synergy [the need to] to eliminate any barrier to having … electrons from batteries coming onto the grid, and I expect that to change within the month.”

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5 Comments
  1. Stan Hlegeris 4 years ago

    “Nahan has predicted that rooftop solar could meet all of daytime demand within 10 years…”

    All of us who have observed the changing energy market for more than a few weeks know this: whatever is predicted to happen within ten years will be done & dusted in a year or two.

    Business owners will catch up with home owners in their use of PV. Both will continue to switch to more efficient appliances. Meeting daytime demand with solar PV won’t take ten years, almost surely not even half that, and possibly less than two years.

  2. Jacob 4 years ago

    Who cares about the retailers. Who owns the network?

  3. MaxG 4 years ago

    Well, if they do not take out the clause restricting export, the retailers would lose a source of making profit 😀

  4. Peter Grant 4 years ago

    Refreshing to seek the Mike Nahan act promptly on this, and congratualations to RE for pursuing this. He is perhaps a little harsh on the regulator though. As I recall it this restriction was not proposed by the ERA. Moreover where restrictions like this are proposed on ‘technical grounds’ the ERA and consumer advocates are at an immediate disadvantage as they do not have the ‘technical’ backup to challenge a the well resourced Western Power.

  5. Alen T 4 years ago

    From economic basis it makes little sense to allow your system to feed back to grid. The FiT (unless it’s the premium) is nowhere high enough to justify the increased cycling of the battery, and thus reduce lifetime. The regulations are actually doing a favour to customers that may not be aware of the cycling-lifetime relationship of batteries.

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