Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced on Monday that further funding has been allocated in the 2022-23 Budget to advance the Big Canberra Battery project with $100 million already dedicated to providing at least 250 MW of large-scale battery energy storage.
Barr said the battery project would help “future proof” the territory’s energy supply 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 and commercial solar PV across the ACT, allowing more households to enjoy the financial benefits of solar power. “After delivering 100% renewable electricity, battery storage if 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 is to be delivered in three streams. Stream one will deliver 250 MW of grid-connected battery storage to support the electricity network. Stream two will initially seek to deliver batteries, up to 1 MW, at 14 government sites to help reduce power used in government buildings and reduce the strain on the distribution network. Stream three will see the deployment of a still to be specified number of medium-sized neighborhood batteries at sites around the city.
Barr said the battery ecosystem could potentially power over one-third of the ACT. “(The) Big Canberra Battery will involve a distributed network of batteries that will be built around the city,” he said. “The largest batteries will be used to support our electricity network. Smaller batteries would be used to power essential services such as schools and hospitals. In between, neighborhood-scale batteries will provide opportunities for local communities to participate in the energy revolution. As a combined network, this battery system can address network constraints, enable more Canberrans to have solar and shorten the pay-off period of domestic solar systems.”
Procurement processes for streams one and two are currently being developed and will open to industry in August 2022. The latest announcement comes after a call for expressions of interest from companies for the large-scale batteries closed in February 2022.
Construction of the batteries is expected to commence from 2023 with the project to be complete in 2023-24. The Big Canberra Battery project is in addition to the more than 100 MW of battery projects being developed in the ACT by French renewables giant Neoen and Australian developer Global Power Generation.
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