Spike in battery storage interest: Garnaut

Marnie Banger
(Australian Associated Press)

The South Australian government’s plan to build a massive battery to store renewable energy has significantly boosted recognition of the technology, economist Ross Garnaut says.

The University of Melbourne professor says “great interest” in battery storage has developed over the past six months.

“Especially since the SA government made it clear that it was seeking to use this technology for stabilising the power system in which there’s a lot of renewables,” he said on Tuesday.

“It’s just in this period that, at last, the potential for battery storage to balance high levels of renewable energy has been recognised.”

Professor Garnaut spoke at a Clean Energy Council event in Adelaide on Tuesday, part of a national series focused on energy storage.

He said a good turn-out at the event reflected the “widening recognition that the time of battery storage has come”.

“That recognition is really a pre-condition for it’s large-scale adoption,” he said.

The SA government announced in March that a huge battery, capable of storing 100MW of solar and wind energy, was part of it’s $550 million energy security plan.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said on Tuesday a shortlist of companies who had bid to build it would submit their proposals this month.

He said the government would make its final decision on the successful bidder “as soon as possible”, with the battery on track to be built by December.

Two new gas-fired power plants and tougher legislation to intervene in the national electricity market were among other elements of the government’s power plan.


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