‘Missing piece of the puzzle’: 3 GW of battery projects make it to ARENA’s grid forming shortlist


The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) on Wednesday announced it has made a shortlist of grid-scale batteries seeking grants from the agency totally $297 million, though the details of the shortlisted project have not yet been made public.

 The 12 finalists, which have now been invited to submit full applications to ARENA’s $100 million Large Scale Battery Storage Round, were selected from a pool of 54 Expressions of Interest (EOIs). 

Aggregated, the shortlisted projects have a capacity of 3050 MW / 7000 MWh (or 3 GW / 7 GWh) and have a combined value of $3.7 billion.

“We are really encouraged by the number and quality of applications to the round; it’s shaping up to be very competitive,” ARENA Acting CEO Chris Faris said.

The funding aims to see battery storage projects with advanced inverters, also known as grid-forming inverters, rolled out across Australia. These inverters enable batteries to provide essential system services traditionally provided by synchronous generation such as coal or gas.

“Advanced inverters that can help stabilise the grid are the missing piece of the puzzle that will support the transition to 100% renewable energy penetration for short periods,” Faris added.

Under the competitive round, the shortlisted projects will ultimately be vying for up to $100 million in ARENA grant funding to support both new build projects and retrofits for existing batteries nationally, with each battery to be at least 70 MW.

AEMO’s 2022 Integrated System Plan, of which the final version was published just last week, identifies a growing need for storage in Australia, saying a trebling of firming capacity in the National Electricity Market with more than 60 GW of dispatchable generation and storage is required by 2050.

ARENA expects to announce the successful battery projects later this year.

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