The Government of the Australian Capital Territory has reaffirmed its commitment to provide one of the largest battery storage systems in the Southern Hemisphere to support Canberra’s energy grid and continued uptake of renewables with funding to be allocated in the upcoming budget to Big Canberra Battery project to continue.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) chief minister Andrew Barr announced Monday that further funding has been allocated in the 2022-23 budget to move the Big Canberra Battery project forward, with $100 million already earmarked for providing at least 250 MW of large-scale battery energy storage.
Barr said the battery project would help make the area’s energy supply “future-proof” by reducing the load on Canberra’s electricity network and increasing network reliability. The project is also expected to facilitate the increased installation of rooftop solar PV and commercial solar across the ACT, allowing more households to reap the financial benefits of solar.
“After providing 100% renewable electricity, battery storage as the next step to protect the ACT when fossil fuel generators fail during hot summers,” Barr said. “ACT Labor recognizes that low-cost energy storage is the missing link in the transition to a 100% renewable national electricity market.”
The battery project will be delivered in three streams. Stream one will provide 250 MW of grid-connected battery storage to support the electricity grid. Stream two will initially supply batteries up to 1 MW to 14 government sites to help reduce power consumption in government buildings and relieve pressure on the distribution network. In stream three, a number of medium-sized neighborhood batteries, yet to be determined, will be deployed at locations in the city.
Barr said the battery ecosystem could potentially power more than a third of the ACT.
“(The) Big Canberra Battery includes a distributed network of batteries that will be built around the city,” he said. “The largest batteries will be used to support our electricity grid. Smaller batteries would be used to power essential services such as schools and hospitals. In the meantime, neighborhood-scale batteries will provide opportunities for local communities to participate in the energy revolution.
“As a combined grid, this battery system can address grid limitations, enable more Canberrans to have solar power and reduce the payback period of domestic solar systems.”
The procurement processes for streams one and two are currently being developed and will open to the industry in August 2022. The latest announcement comes after a call for expressions of interest from companies for the large-scale batteries that closed in February 2022.
Construction of the batteries is expected to begin in 2023 and the project will be completed in 2023-24.
The Big Canberra Battery project comes on top of more than 100 MW of battery projects being developed in the ACT by French giant Neoen and Australian developer Global Power Generation.
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