CEC calls on government to implement battery-friendly energy market reforms

The Clean Energy Council has called on governments and industry to work together to ready Australia’s electricity market for the rapid uptake of residential and commercial battery storage, and to esnure the full benefits of the “revolutionary” technology are realised.

In a report titled Accelerating the Uptake of Battery Storage, released last Thursday, the CEC outlines a number of initiatives ranging from making changes to electricity pricing structures in some states; to the introduction of smart regulation to overcome barriers to uptake.

The report notes that while subsidies are not needed to encourage the adoption of battery storage by Australian households, government “support” should be provided for demonstration projects that can identify barriers and grow confidence and familiarity with battery storage solutions.

The most critical support measure, it says, is to set tariffs that allow consumers to realise the economic benefits of the technology, and that reduce demand for electricity at peak times, thus reducing the costs of the entire electricity network.

Network distribution tariffs should be designed in a way that allows customers to realise the full value of installing storage, the report says, and in a way that ensures future tariff changes are “not at the detriment” of these customer benefits.

“Battery storage has massive potential in Australia to help Australian consumers better manage their own electricity use, alleviate the pressures on the electricity network, and maximise the advantage of the more than 1.5 million solar systems already installed on homes,” said CEC chief Kane Thornton in a media statement.

“But there is a global race on to attract investors and technology innovation in the sector, and Australia cannot afford to be complacent. There is a lot to do and it is important that industry and governments work together to unlock this exciting innovation in the energy sector.”

Governments could also play an important role in helping to find innovative business and financing models, and build capability and capacity within the industry, the report said, while also ensuring supportive regulations relating to building codes, planning regimes, fire and environmental safety or electrical and network regulation.

The CEC also recommends undertaking Australia’s most comprehensive technical report of storage safety, to be completed in collaboration with CSIRO, and creating a Battery Storage Endorsement for solar installers, as well as a consumer guide for households and small business.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd