After receiving a range of proposals from local and national businesses, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government has selected four companies for a new round of grants under its landmark Next Generation Energy Storage program. Funds have been issued to ActewAGL Retail, Evergen, Solahart and Solarhub to support the rollout of home battery storage in up to 5,000 Canberra homes and businesses.
The grants will help residential and commercial customers to cover the cost of installing a battery along with a new or existing PV system. Customers will receive up to $825/kW of peak output, or around $4000 off an average household system.
Launched in 2016 with a pilot round, the Australia Capital Territory’s battery subsidy scheme has grown into the $25 million Next Generation Energy Storage program, which aims to support the roll-out of around 36 MW of energy storage across 5,000 Canberra homes and businesses by 2020. Under the program, the batteries are being aggregated into one of Australia’s prominent grid-connected virtual power plants.
“In Canberra we now have over 5 megawatts of “smart” battery storage supported under the program. This equates to just over 1,200 batteries sold across the ACT which can be used to support the electricity grid and help reduce Canberra’s vulnerability to peak energy demand shocks,” Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said.
Through the Next Generation Renewables Program, the ACT Government aims to support the installation of battery-storage in homes across the Territory as an important part of the transition towards 100% renewable electricity by 2020 and net zero emissions by 2045 at the latest. “The ACT are proud climate leaders. We’re putting the climate first and realising real climate action, here and now, to protect our planet for future generations,” Rattenbury said.
ACT reverse auction
The Next Generation Renewables Program is supported by the fourth reverse auction for 200 MW of renewables. In 2016, the Territory government announced two successful wind proponents as the winners of the Next Generation Renewables auction, the 91 MW Crookwell 2 Wind Farm developed by Union Fenosa Wind Australia in New South Wales and the 109 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm Stage 3 developed by Neoen and Megawatt Capital in South Australia.
At the time, the Next Generation Renewables auction set a benchmark price for renewable energy in Australia with $73/MWh for the Hornsdale Wind Farm, fixed for 20-years. The price for Crookwell Wind Farm of $86.60/MWh was as a record low for a wind farm in NSW. The output from the two wind farms is calculated to be the final renewable electricity needed to meet the ACT’s 100%-by-2020 renewable electricity target and 40% reduction on 1990 level 2020 greenhouse gas emission target.
The fourth round funding announcement comes as the Next Generation Energy Storage program has been nominated for a prestigious national prize – for ‘Renewable Energy Achievement’ in the ‘Cities Power Partnership’ program. The Cities Power Partnership is Australia’s largest local government climate network, made up over 100 councils from across the country, representing almost 11 million Australians.
David Craven, Director of the Cities Power Partnership, congratulated the ACT Government for making the final shortlist for the grants, saying that the range and quality of entries showed the extent to which local governments are becoming a vital part of Australia’s climate solution.
“Local champions such as the ACT are stepping up to the climate challenge in the face of continuing Federal climate inaction,” Craven said. “It’s time to celebrate these unsung climate heroes in local government, who are helping their communities to drive down local greenhouse gas pollution.”