ACT includes 250 MW big battery in $307m budget announcement


The ACT Government announced on Thursday that $100 million will be spent in the next five financial years to deliver one of the biggest renewable battery storage systems in Australia.

With the Big Canberra Battery set to provide at least 250 MW of battery storage it will far exceed the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia. Also known as the Tesla Big Battery, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery underwent a 50% expansion in 2020 to take its capacity to 150 MW.

While the budget announcement did not include specific details about the ACT battery storage system, the proposed network is already off to a decent start with French renewables giant Neoen, which operates the Hornsdale facility, having recently signed a 14-year contract with the ACT Government which includes the construction of a 50 MW (at least) energy storage facility in Canberra.

Global Power Generation (GPG) has also signed a contract with the ACT Government to deliver at least 10 MW of battery storage as part of a deal to supply the territory with wind farm-generated energy.

The Big Canberra Battery project is just one of a suite of initiatives included in the $307 million five-year package announced on Thursday ahead of the upcoming ACT budget.

Interest-free loans for household solar modules and battery storage, registration fees waived for electric vehicles and $50 million to improve building efficiency and sustainability were among the initiatives unveiled by the ACT government as part of a raft of climate change initiatives.

The largest of the measures is a $150 million Sustainable Household Scheme fund which will provide loans of up to $15,000 for households to meet upfront costs of rooftop solar modules, household battery storage, efficient electric appliances or zero-emission vehicles.

Registration fees will also be waived on zero-emission vehicles from May 2021 for the first two years of registration.

ACT’s Energy and Emissions Reductions Minister Shane Rattenbury said the initiatives will build on the ACT’s achievement of 100% renewable electricity and are the next steps to ensuring the territory meets its target of net-zero emissions by 2045.

“This budget commits major new investment to help Canberrans live more comfortably and sustainably, tacking the biggest pieces in our emissions puzzle with a focus on phasing out fossil-fuel gas and transforming ACT transport to be zero emissions,” he said.

“We’re aiming for an EV revolution over the next decade, with the ACT leading the transition to zero emissions transport. Free registration and no-interest loans for zero emissions vehicles, along with a new network of 50 public charging stations for electric vehicles will make EV’s a real option for Canberrans who may have been hesitant until now.”

A further $50 million has been allocated to improve building efficiency and sustainability for social and public housing, along with low-income owner-occupiers and low-performing rental properties.

Another $5 million has been set aside to support community clubs to undertake energy efficiency upgrades such as rooftop solar.

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