Australian company Ecoult is seeking opportunities in an emerging global market for battery storage.
Australian company Ecoult is seeking opportunities in an emerging global market for battery storage. Image Credit: Ecoult

The Victorian Government is seeking expressions of interest for the construction of Australia’s largest battery storage facility in regional Victoria.

After receiving advice that an energy storage facility would provide improvements to grid reliability, the Victorian Labor Government is seeking proposals for the construction of a 20 Megawatt battery storage system. The system would be installed in the north-west or south-west of the state.

Australia’s largest

At 20 Megawatts in capacity, the battery storage system is set to be the largest installed in Australia. However, it is not currently clear how many hours of back-up power such a system would provide.

The Victorian Government will seek the cooperation of Federal bodies, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to provide co-investment in the facility.

In an address to the National Press Club, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull previously announced that ARENA and the CEFC would work together to include support to energy storage, including batteries, as part of their investment priorities.

According to the Victorian Government, ARENA has agreed to provide grant funding to the large-scale battery project, provided the project meets ARENA’s selection criteria.

In announcing the expression of interest, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio highlighted the scale of the project, and the role that battery storage is set to play in ensuring reliable electricity supply. 

“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.” Minister 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.”

Announcement Welcomed

The announcement was welcomed by Friends of the Earth, who said the project would strengthen the Victorian energy system as it transitions to cleaner energy sources. The organisation contrasted the announcement to that of the Victorian Liberals, who recently pledged to repeal the state’s renewable energy targets.

“Combining the Victorian Renewable Energy Target with Australia’s biggest battery will future proof the grid and deliver secure power for the 21st Century,” Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson Pat Simons said.

“[Victorian Liberal Leader] Matthew Guy’s ideological opposition to the VRET is a do-nothing approach that risks steeper price rises and lost job opportunities and could relegate the Victorian Liberals to the political wilderness for another term just like the troubled Baillieu premiership.”

Expression of interests from utility-scale battery storage businesses will be received by the Victorian Government up until 1 March 2017. The Victorian Government will work with ARENA and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to finalise a formal tender to be opened from 1 April 2017.

The tender follows an earlier calls for proposals from the Victorian Government for the construction of a 75 Megawatt solar farm, also destined for rural Victoria. Roughly half the output from the solar farm will be used to offset the consumption of Victoria’s metro tram network.


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