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Australian PM reveals major energy storage push

Australian PM reveals major energy storage push

Large-scale solar plants in Australia are on the rise with almost 500MW contracted by ARENA in 2016. Source: ARENA.

Australia will launch a new large-scale energy storage funding round, the country’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed.

“Energy storage, long neglected in Australia, will also be a priority this year,” he said in a speech to the National Press Club.

“Last week at my request, ARENA [Austrian Renewable Energy Agency] and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, agreed to work together on a new funding round for large-scale storage and other flexible capacity projects including pumped hydro.

“I've also written to Alan Finkel [Australia’s chief scientist], asking him to advise on the role of storage and pumped hydro in stabilising the grid.

“Large-scale storage will support variable renewables like wind and solar. It will get more value out of existing baseload generation and it will enhance grid stability. We're going to get on with it,” claimed Turnbull.

Australian state governments are able to incentivise renewables outside of federal programmes and Turnbull said this had created instability on the grid.

“States are setting huge renewable targets, far beyond that of the national [target], with no consideration given to the baseload power and storage needed for stability.

“South Australia – now with the most expensive and least secure energy has had its wake-up call – one storm blacked out the entire state,” he said.

The country has an active residential solar and storage market but the utility-scale energy storage market is embryonic.