ARENA Declares Funding of $3.7 Billion for New Battery Storage Establishments in Australia

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is offering government funding for more than 3 GW battery storage projects, with a total value of $3.7 Billion.

ARENA today announced that 12 projects were invited to submit full applications for the $100 million Large-Scale Battery Storage Round. This round aims to support grid-scale batteries equipped with advanced inverter technologies. The 12 grid-scale batteries shortlisted have a combined capacity of 3050 MW / 7000 MWh, and ARENA grants totaling $297 million. ARENA selected 12 projects from a pool of 54 Expressions of Interest.

The competition round will see the shortlisted projects compete for funding of up to $100,000,000 in ARENA grants. This funding can be used to support new builds and retrofits of existing batteries across the country. Each battery must be at least 70 MW. Advanced inverters also known as grid-forming inverters enable batteries to provide the essential system services that were previously provided by synchronous generation like coal or gas.

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Chris Faris, Acting CEO of ARENA, stated that interest in the round has far exceeded ARENA’s expectations. “We are encouraged by the quality and quantity of applications to this round; it’s shaping to be very competitive,” Mr Faris stated.

“The 12 projects that were shortlisted represented the strongest in an impressive field. We look forward to their full applications.”

To keep Australia’s grid stable, it is necessary to find new ways to deliver system services as the electricity system shifts to inverter-based generation at higher rates. AEMO’s 2021 Advanced inverter whitepaper outlined how important grid forming inverters are in supporting a grid that can operate with 100% instantaneous renewable energy.

AEMO’s 2022 Integrated System Plan identified a rising need for electricity storage. It outlined a trebling in firming capacity of the National Electricity Market, with more than 60 GW dispatchable generation and storage by 2050. Advanced Inverters, which can stabilize the grid, are the missing piece that will support the transition from 100 percent renewable energy penetration for brief periods.

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ARENA has been a major supporter of innovation in grid-scale batteries in Australia for many years.

ARENA supported seven grid-scale batteries in the past, with four of them equipped with advanced inverters. Electranet’s ESCRI Project remains Australia’s largest grid-forming battery. Wallgrove and Hornsdale Power Reserve are expected to add advanced inverter capabilities before the end. AGL’s Broken Hill Battery was funded by ARENA, which will show the benefits of grid forming batteries at remote fringe-of-grid locations.

Shortlisted applicants were invited to submit full applications before the deadline of 20 July 2022. ARENA will announce the successful applicants for the round in the latter part of 2022.

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