The Queensland state government has announced plans to install five large-scale, network-connected batteries as part of a community battery trial. With a combined capacity of 40 MWh, the batteries will be installed at substations in Townsville, Yeppoon, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, and Toowoomba.
With its eye-watering rooftop solar penetration – almost one in three Queenslanders living in detached houses now have solar on their rooftops – the trial is setting the stage for the government’s plan to firm up its grid by housing large-scale batteries in major substations.
“Energy Queensland-owned sites have been identified for this trial where deployment can occur as quickly and efficiently as possible, and where we are seeing the highest penetration of solar on the network,” said Queensland’s Energy Minister, Mick de Brenni. “If successful, Energy Queensland could deploy distribution batteries in locations right across the state. In the medium term, this technology means we can ‘bank’ the excess renewable energy generated allowing a continued growth in rooftop solar on the way to achieving Queensland’s renewable energy target.”
Currently, 20% of Queensland’s energy mix comes from renewables. The government is aiming to bring that up to 50% by 2030.
The government of New South Wales launched a similar trial in February. Melbourne’s Yarra Council also made a similar move in January, but focused its attention on city dwellers, while Western Australia continues to roll out community battery projects.
With Australia’s rooftop solar growth expected to exceed last year’s 3 GW record, according to the Clean Energy Regulator, governments are scrambling to make the most of abundant daytime power and avoid the solar shutdowns that have affected South Australia.
State-owned Energy Queensland already has one network-connected battery – a 4 MW/8 MWh Tesla battery – at Bohle Plains in Townsville. This new slate of batteries will include another in Townsville, to be housed at the Black River Substation.
The Yeppoon battery will be located at the Tanby Substation, while Bundaberg’s will be integrated into the Bargara Substation. Hervey Bay and Toowoomba’s batteries will be part of the Torquay Substation and Torrington Substation, respectively.
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