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ROUNDUP: Community battery Queensland, Enel joins ESA board, Varta’s grid charge update

Townsville, Queensland. Image: Flickr user Hector Garcia.

Community grid-scale battery joins Queensland's VPP

4 February 2019: A new 4MW / 8MWh energy storage project has been announced in an area of Queensland, Australia which may also be soon getting a battery ‘Gigafactory’ before long.

The first community-scale battery planned for Townsville, Queensland, a region described as a solar hotspot, will help provide backup power and aid the integration of renewable energy onto local networks.

The project will be publicly-owned by the community and is expected to utilise Tesla Powerpack lithium-ion battery energy storage devices. Queensland’s acting energy minister Mark Furner said it was a “small but significant addition to Queensland’s publicly-owned electricity system, a system which is delivering cheaper prices on average compared to other mainland states in the National Energy Market (NEM)”.

Queensland has a target of reaching 50% renewables by 2030. Installation on the 4MW Tesla battery will begin in October this year, joining utility Ergon’s virtual power plant (VPP) which supplies to the NEM.

Townsville, floated as the possible location for an Australian lithium battery factory on a scale to rival Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada, already has around 20,000 rooftop PV systems in action.  

Enel Green Power NA regulatory & institutional affairs director joins Energy Storage Association board

4 February 2019: The US’ national Energy Storage Association has appointed Kate McKeever of Enel Green Power North America to its Board of Directors.

McKeever, director of regulatory and institutional affairs at the renewable energy subsidiary of the Italy-headquartered multinational Enel, joins the board for the remainder of the 2018-2019 term.

She is experienced in legislatory issues following a 17-year stint working for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including her most recent role as general counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).

Members of the current ESA board listed alongside Kate McKeever on the ESA website include representatives of Engie Storage, GE Power, Fluence, Swinerton Renewable Energy, Duke Energy, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), EV GO, Ameresco, Fresh Technologies, the electric cooperatives groups Rappahanock Electric Cooperative and National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Cooperation, as well as law firm K&L Gates LLP.

Varta rolls out grid charging function to UK home batteries

4 February 2019: Varta is to rollout a software update to UK customers in March introducing a new, grid-charging function to its installed domestic battery energy storage systems.

From March 2019, Varta will introduce grid-charging functionality to its Pulse energy storage units, allowing them to charge during off-peak times and then discharge at times when power is more costly, enabling consumers to load shift and save money.

Up until now Varta systems had only been capable of charging using power from a connected microgeneration, such as a rooftop solar system.

The software update is to be rolled out automatically and Gordon Clements, general manager at Varta Storage, said it stood to eliminate the need for a dedicated PV system to operate a storage facility.

Varta's home storage units, branded 'Pulse', will include the grid-charging software update from March. Image: Varta.

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