The ACT is once again at the vanguard of the renewable sector, as 5000 homes receive discounted home battery storage in an attempt to quicken the pace of the energy storage market.
In the ACT’s newest round of energy capacity auctions, $25 million is being set aside so as to ‘give back’ to consumers in the local area. This is particularly groundbreaking as we are on the verge of becoming the world leader, and the first viable mass market, for energy storage.
Essentially, the state is going ahead and subsidising energy storage through private sector investment, and totally independently from any federal policy. The roll out of discounted storage will be the largest seen in the world outside of Germany, who has led the way in solar energy production and storage solutions for years. Germany’s aggressive pursual of the renewable market highlights the Australia’s potential to capitalise on the industry, as Germany’s level of irradiation pales in comparison to ours.
The ACT will auction off around 109 MW of energy production capacity, mostly to large-scale projects in both wind and solar. However, the auction requires that each bidder reserves $250,000 to go towards the battery storage scheme.
Before the savings are passed onto the consumers, the state will hold another auction to divvy the funds up among battery storage companies, who will then proceed with statewide installations. It can be almost confusing to see simple and effective policy in place, but it makes perfect sense.
The capital sees the huge potential of battery storage to really change the game in regards to the renewable sector and the wider energy industry as a whole, however it is also acutely aware of the expensive price tag being placed on the actual products themselves. Seeing as federal policy is doing nothing to alleviate the ongoing investor freeze in Australia, it is no wonder the states are turning to the private sector.
That being said it seems to be working in the public's favour, due to the huge demand for solar capacity among large scale providers who are more than happy to cough up a measly $250,000 to help acquire multimillion dollar contracts.
The ACT Climate and Energy Minister Simon Corbell had this to say about it, “Solar PV-battery storage will revolutionise the renewable energy sector by storing renewable energy so it is on demand exactly when we need it, reducing the need for network investment.”
The ACT has always been a proponent and early adopter of pro renewable sector policy and investment. While this one off auction alone is set to bring in $25 million, the second largest battery storage subsidy plan is South Australia’s $300,000 grant provided by the Adelaide Council, alongside the South Australian Government.
This goes to show the lengths the capital state is willing to go to achieve its 90% renewable reliance targets set for 2020. The state also has the lofty goal of becoming 100% green by 2025 and out of the all the state and national schemes, the ACT looks to be the closest to achieving these goals.
Simon Corbell the Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory said “It is exciting to see the 90% renewable energy target on-track to be completed on time and with minimal flow-on cost for the Canberra community,” Corbell said in a statement”.
The ACT is showing the nation it is possible to subsidise and support the growing renewable industry without waiting on the federal government's blessing. Many other states may look to the ACT as a model for rallying green investment, meaning private auction funding may become the engine for the Australian battery boom.