ARENA

New ARENA funding round to help plug one of last gaps to 100 pct renewables grid

Published by

The Australia Renewable Energy Agency is expected to launch a new funding round of around $100 million in early December that will support the roll out of grid forming batteries, one of the last remaining gaps to fill for a 100 per cent renewable energy grid.

Grid forming inverters – mostly likely hosted in battery storage installations – are seen as crucial to supply the system strength and other key grid services traditionally delivered by coal, gas and other spinning machinery.

If they are rolled out at significant scale it means that the country’s remaining fossil fuel generators can be phased out once there is enough renewables to supply the actual energy needs.

Grid forming inverters are also considered to be a smarter and more modern alternative than synchronous condensers, big spinning machines that do not burn fuel which have been installed in South Australia to reduce the need to direct gas generators on line, and more randomly in other parts of the grid.

The Australian Energy Market Operator has recently identified grid forming inverters as a top priority for the grid, but in a presentation to stakeholders last week ARENA noted that it remains challenging for such projects to reach financial close.

“Grid-forming batteries are viewed as being a key enabler to operating whole NEM (National Electricity Market) regions at 100 per cent instantaneous renewables,” the presentation said.

It also noted that such batteries could address other grid needs such as emergency interventions, provide “virtual transmission” (increasing the capacity of links between states) and help deal with falling levels of minimum demand.

ARENA says the purpose of the new funding round is to boost the capability to maintain system security at a regional level (i.e. across an entire states) as the broader power system operates with few synchronous generators.

It says the funding round will accelerate the demonstration of grid forming inverters at scale, and improve industry understanding of how the technology can support system stability during periods of high inverter-based generation (wind and solar).

Some batteries already provide this service, but only at relatively small scale, such as Dalrymple North, the newly expanded Hornsdale Power Reserve, the new Wallgrove battery in NSW, and another four even smaller projects that are yet to reach financial close.

AEMO, however, wants to see these grid forming batteries to be operating at bigger scale, so it can confidently move ahead with the new protocols that will allow 100 per cent renewables to be reached at certain times by 2025, and consistently by 2035.

It says that further funding is needed because grid scale battery deployments that incorporate grid forming technologies carry costs and risk for project developers, and although there are some 5,000MW of new battery storage projects in the pipeline, there is little incentive to incorporate grid forming capabilities.

ARENA is hoping to support at least three different projects (and battery suppliers) across the NEM and the Western Australia grid, and between 500MW and 1000MW of new large scale batteries.

(The length of storage will be decided by what other services these batteries provide, but generally only a shorter time frame is needed for this function).

The proposed ARENA round would be launched in December, with applications due in July, a decision in september and financial close in mid to late 2023.


Lies, myths and greenwashing. Good independent journalism is time-consuming and costly. But small independent media sites like RenewEconomy have been excluded from the tens of millions of dollars being handed out to Big Media companies from the social media giants. To enable us to continue to hold government and business to account, to cut through the lies and the misinformation about the renewable transition, and to help expand our work on giving broad coverage to the exciting breakthroughs, advances and opportunities of the green energy transition, you can make a voluntary donation here. This will help ensure we can continue to offer the service free of charge and to as wide an audience as possible. Thank you for your support.

Share
Published by

Recent Posts

Huge artificial “green hydrogen island” proposed for North Sea

CIP proposes "hydrogen island" in the North Sea to produce up to one million tonnes…

25 May 2022

“Don’t work for climate wreckers:” UN chief warns young people off fossil fuels

UN Chief Antonio Guterres tells university graduates not to work in industries that are "killing…

24 May 2022

Alice Springs tests potential for remote control of home solar and batteries

A team at Charles Darwin University will test the ability for solar and battery inverters…

24 May 2022

“We gave up:” Quinbrook’s back with big battery plans and withering critique of Taylor’s policy failure

Quinbrook ready to invest in Australia again, but gives withering critique of Angus Taylor's policy…

24 May 2022

Australia has the resources to be a renewable energy superpower, now it needs a plan

The last federal government has left a considerable mess in the electricity sector for the…

24 May 2022

Albanese commits Australia to stronger 2030 target, starts climate reset

Anthony Albanese hits reset on Australia's international climate stance, formally committing Australia to a stronger…

24 May 2022