South Australia launches AU$50 million fund for grid-scale energy storage

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In order to address intermittency in its grid, the South Australian Government has introduced a AU$50 million (US$36 million) Grid Scale Storage Fund (GSSF) to help accelerate the deployment of new large energy storage projects, including pumped hydro, hydrogen, gas storage, solar thermal, bioenergy and battery storage.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Australian Government to help coordinate the assessment of projects that may be eligible for joint funding, as well as knowledge sharing. Applications shortlisted for the GSSF may also be eligible for funding from ARENA under the Advancing Renewables Program (ARP).

The technology-neutral funding will be divided into two streams for both behind-the-meter assets and grid-scale assets.

Under the GSSF, applicants must be able to match funding dollar-for-dollar and preference will be given to projects targeting financial close by the end of 2019.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller, said: “The $50 million funding commitment from the South Australian Government will help to realise a number of groundbreaking projects that will help provide stable, reliable and dispatchable power to the state. ARENA has worked closely with the South Australian Government to ensure projects that meet our criteria can benefit from this opportunity, and get off the ground sooner.”

“ARENA has already committed up to $110 million in funding to support a wide range of projects in South Australia, including innovative energy storage projects. As more of our electricity is generated from solar and wind, it is clear that storage technologies will play a key role in delivering secure, reliable and affordable electricity,” he added.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA is already supporting feasibility studies for two prospective pumped hydro plants at Cultana and Middleback Ranges, two virtual power plants trials and has contributed towards two grid-scale batteries – Infigen’s Lake Bonney battery and the ESCRI battery in Dalrymple.

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