The south-west is among the areas being considered for Australia’s first grid scale energy battery storage facility.
The state government’s proposal for the $5 million facility comes after the energy market operator identified opportunities to improve the reliability of the power supply in the south-west.
The announcement of the proposal follows a power outage last December that seriously damaged Alcoa’s Portland smelter,. There were also power outages interstate this month when the national grid was unable to meet demand during heatwaves.
“The proposal for the 20 megawatt (MW) energy storage battery aimed to equip Victoria with “the next generation of energy technologies that will support a resilient energy system,” State energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio said.
“The 20MW battery will be the first of its kind for Australia, it will help to modernise Victoria’s electricity grid, enhance energy security and deliver affordable energy,” Ms D’Ambrosio added.
The battery facility would also better integrate renewable energy generation into the power grid and keep power prices in check, especially in peak demand periods, she said.
The state government has called for expressions of interest to build the battery facility with submissions to be made by March 1.
Ms D’Ambrosio said another possible site for the battery facility was north-west Victoria where there was also opportunities to improve the power grid’s reliability.
The government also stated that the proposal for the 20MW battery would link into a large scale storage and flexible capacity expression of interest process being undertaken by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
It said it and ARENA would continue to work with AEMO and network businesses to finalise a tender that will be issued publicly in April.
Friends of the Earth renewable energy spokesman Pat Simons welcomed the state government move.
“Combining the Victorian Renewable Energy Target with Australia’s biggest battery will future proof the grid and deliver secure power for the 21st Century,” Mr Simons said.