ACT government seeks expressions of interest in development of 50MW solar-plus-storage facility

The government of the Australian Capital Territory has announced that it is seeking expressions of interest for the development of a 50-megawatt (MW) ‘next generation’ solar-plus-storage facility. The EOI process has been initiated in order to support the commercialisation of technologies that help address the issues of reliability and intermittency associated with renewable energy sources like solar.

Highlighting the ACT’s national leadership and ambition with regard to uptake of renewable energy, environment minister Simon Corbell emphasised the importance of bringing energy storage forward to commercial viability – especially on the large-scale.

“The ACT Government is targeting next generation solar, including energy storage and new renewable energy technologies, in its plans to reduce emissions, grow the renewable energy industry in the territory, and position Canberra as an internationally recognised centre for renewable energy innovation and investment.

“Cost-effective storage of renewable energy will be a game-changer for the energy industry, and would allow us to keep, for example, energy generated by solar during the day for use at peak times during the evening,” he said in a press release.

The release notes that this process will open the door for active and willing industry players to approach the government with project proposals for ‘assessment and consideration’. Solar energy projects which are located in or around the ACT (but possibly also elsewhere on the National Electricity Market) and which incorporate some form of energy storage technology will be considered. All types of energy storage – including battery storage and pumped hydro – will be considered in equal measure.

The ACT government will use information gathered through the EOI process to inform the development of future renewable energy support policies – “which may include direct grants or reverse auction processes.”

The government will be accepting expressions of interest until 3pm on 17 June, 2015.

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