Australia should lead on residential battery storage, as it has with solar: Hunt

Federal environment minister Greg Hunt says Australia should lead the world in the adoption of battery storage, in the same way it has done with rooftop solar.

“Solar and storage together are the future of electricity,” Hunt said during a whirlwind visit to two battery storage trials at new residential communities in Western Australia. “That’s a huge direction in Australia and we are the world’s leading household solar nation.

“Now we want to be number one in the deployment of battery storage. That will take time but this project again puts Australia right at the forefront.”

Hunt used the occasion of the WA battery trial launches to announce government support for four more battery storage trials, as part of $17 million of R&D grants that will focus on the integration of renewable energy, and rooftop solar in particular.

These include Bruny Island in Tasmania, where 40 households will be fitted with a combination of solar, battery storage and energy management software that will allow them to trade electricity with the network, in an effort to maximise the benefits of the technology for both the consumer and the grid.

Last year, Hunt suggested it was “inevitable” that many people would leave the grid because of the changing economics of the energy system, and the plunging cost of solar and battery storage.

“It’s about reducing the costs for the grid, reducing the costs for household and giving people the opportunity to control their own energy use,” he said.WA energy minister Mike Nahan described the battery storage projects as an important advancement, while noting that the ARENA support for the Alkimos trial – a total of $3.3 million out of a total budget of $6.7 million – amounted to a subsidy of $45,000 per household.

“We expect this to come down and we will learn many things,” Nahan said. “Like how to integrate, how to incentivise houses, how to get the tariffs right, so that when battery technology does come down to a lower level, which it is doing now, it becomes mainstream and we can integrate it not only in new dwelling suburbs like this but across old suburbs.”

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson