The construction of Australia’s first grid-scale battery storage facility in Victoria should provide big opportunities for the state’s innovation and research sectors.
The Victorian Government is currently accepting tenders for a 20MW battery storage facility, which is likely to be located in the state’s south-west.
The state’s investment in grid-scale battery technology was a “significant” milestone for the government, and a step in the right direction, according to Friends of the Earth renewable energy spokesman Pat Simons said.
“It will be Australia’s largest battery storage project, and it’s also a sign that combining renewables with energy storage can provide secure and affordable power. It’s a really big investment,” Mr Simons told InnovationAus.com.
The facility is part of the state government’s push to lift its share of renewable energy to 25 per cent by 2020, and to 40 per cent by 2020, Victoria 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,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“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 targets.”
It comes just after the Victorian government announced $5 million in funding for large-scale battery storage in order to improve the performance and security of the grid.
The winning tender is also likely to receive funding from the federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation if it meets selection criteria.
The battery facility will provide power for the grid especially in peak demand times such as heat waves, helping to drive down power costs for the state.
The Australia-first facility will also provide a wealth of opportunities for the local innovation and research communities, Simons said.
“This landmark project is a chance for research opportunities, for testing out what impact on the energy system a project like this has,” he said.
“There are additional opportunities for research and new innovations. Aside from the local jobs in constructing and maintaining it, there are spin-off benefits of people being able to come to look at the positive impact this has on the energy sector.”
The government is seeking expressions of interest by the start of March, with the formal tender to be issued by April.