The Victorian Labor government has invited expressions of interest to set up their 20MW battery storage system poised to become the first grid-scale battery storage plant of its kind in Australia.
The state government says the 20MW storage facility was earmarked for western Victoria, where several opportunities to enhance grid stability have been identified by the Australian Energy Market Operator, and where majority of wind farms and proposed solar energy farms in the state are situated.
No doubt, Victoria’s western grid has suffered major blows in the last 15 months, consequently leading to load shedding and rolling blackouts in South Australia, the neighbouring state, and also at the Alcoa aluminum refinery, all attributed to renewable energy as opposed to the grid.
The Victorian government, which intends to raise its share of clean energy to 25 per cent by 2020, and 40 percent by 2025, insists that energy storage will play a crucial role in ensuring seamless integration of renewable energy production, and keeping electricity prices in check and lights on.
In a statement, the Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said, “We are in the midst of a major global transformation and we’re making sure Victoria is equipped with the next generation of energy technologies that will support a resilient energy system.”
“The 20MW battery will be the first of its kind for Australia, it will help to modernise Victoria’s electricity grid, enhance energy security and deliver affordable energy.
“We’re taking the action required to ensure reliable and affordable energy supply for Victorians while we deliver on our renewable energy target.”
There are several other installations of battery storage that have been considered though none has this kind of scale. Various utilities are already running trial storage in many homes and businesses, as well as smaller 1MW storage arrays at grid level.
South Australia has also been considering installing grid level storage, just like a few private solar projects in the state, but none is yet to be formally commissioned.
The project will combine efforts being made by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). ARENA has confirmed that any project willing to work hand in hand with the Andrews Labor government’s initiative and follow its selection criteria will get funding from the Agency.
Utility-scale battery storage businesses are invited to tender their expressions of interest by 1 March 2017, which should be delivered to the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) at [email protected]. The government will issue a formal tender in April.
IMAGE via Kevin Dooley