Under a new plan from Australian Capital Territory Labor a network of ‘big batteries’ with a combined capacity far larger than the massive Tesla battery in South Australia would be built across the national capital, Canberra.
As part of the plan, parts of the battery network would be set aside for the sole purpose of trading energy on the national market, and making money.
Labor has detailed the energy policy aimed at making Canberra a “globally recognised centre for renewable energy innovation and investment”.
The new plan would extend that dramatically, using a network of batteries spread around the city to eventually build up to 250MW.
ABC News reports the exact capacity of the battery will not be determined until after market procurement is completed.
It will be influenced by factors including technology, site location and allocated use of the batteries.
However, Labor says the battery will be significantly bigger than the Hornsdale project in South Australia, which contains the largest lithium-ion battery in the world, at 150MW or 193.5 megawatt-hours (MWh).
Labor says it is willing to invest $100 million over five years if elected.
South Australia’s big battery project was primarily brought on by increasing unreliability in the electricity grid, including state-wide blackouts.
The ACT does not have similar issues at present.
“We have experienced load shedding events during the summertime,” he said.
“And as we see larger generators in New South Wales coming to the end of their life, and on the really hot days, some coal fired power stations just simply can’t generate energy, this will be really important for us.”
Energy Systems Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne Dr Dylan McConnell said on a hot day in Canberra in the middle of a heatwave, peak electricity demand was close to 600MW.
“In this announcement they’re talking about putting batteries in central places around the Canberra network, that would ensure a reliable supply in those peak summer days when everyone’s got the air conditioner on.”
Dr McConnell also said that batteries could “provide frequency control and system security”.
“When coal plants trip or power stations disconnect or loads disconnect, when there are disturbances to the system and you need to respond incredibly quickly, batteries are very well placed to do that,” he said.
While the batteries will play a role in both supporting and stabilising the local grid, Mr Barr also wants them making money on the national electricity market.
A portion of the energy stored would be dedicated to selling on the market, helping to pay for the massive investment.
“And that will put downward pressure on power prices for consumers and generate revenue for the territory.”
“This is a sound public investment that will generate revenue back to the territory.”
The network would be made up of some large batteries installed at critical connection points, along with much smaller batteries within the community.
It also wants to work with universities, non-government schools and businesses to install batteries to store energy generated through rooftop solar panels.
The ‘reverse auction’ process used by the ACT government to buy renewable energy, and source the large batteries already acquired, would be used for the largest of the new batteries still to be bought.
EcoNews is an independent publication that relies on contributions from its readers.
WE’RE BUILDING A PLATFORM WITH A CLEAR FOCUS ON THE ENVIRONMENT, CULTURAL AND SOCIAL GOOD. CONTRIBUTE AND TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE AN IMPACT.
If you value EcoNews, but are unable to contribute via sponsorship or advertising we ask that you promote our online store The Native Shop – www.nativeshop.com.au via your social media to assist us to fund this valuable service.