“The battery energy storage industry requires more support from the federal government”.
Some tweets by an American billionaire have interested Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
When saying this, Ross Garnaut was referring to the Tesla co-founder Elon Musk, who tweeted that Tesla batteries are a solution to the power shortage issues in South Australia. He said that installing battery storage of 100-300 megawatts could reduce the blackouts and price spikes.
Malcolm Turnbull also tweeted that he enjoyed a great and thorough conversation with Elon Musk on the issue.
Garnaut also said Australian companies such as Zen Energy have been working for years to device power shortage solutions through batteries that would supply renewable power to main users in the country. Zen Energy is working to have it ready by summer, and bring the main supply grid to stability. They said that there had been extensive economic modelling and technical work to come up with a solution that meets the market requirements. They have worked closely with external investors and the energy community to support their development work.
Garnaut said that Zen would only manage the batteries and its connection to the grid, but external investors would be the battery owners. The 100Mwh battery is set to optimise power usage and grid stability.
Jay Weatherill, the South Australian Premier will release his energy plan on Tuesday; expectations are that it will mainly address renewable energy and blackout issues.
The Energy Storage Council chief executive, John Grimes, says that Elon Musk is right and there are several Australian companies, probably more price-competitive than Tesla that can also deliver the battery project to stabilise energy grid in about 100 days.
He gave some reasons as to why the potential of battery storage was not put into much consideration previously. He pointed out that there have been unhelpful political debates about clean coal technology and the diminishing state of renewable energy targets. He also said that in the past, this was not a viable solution due to cost, but due to rapidly changing economics, batteries are an ideal solution today. He says that energy revolution plans supported by the federal government are set to begin now and continue for the next ten years.
Grimes said nothing should interrupt the government’s efforts to build the energy sector. Australian companies should be allowed to do what they are capable of, in a transparent bid process. Over the last years, battery prices have reduced, and their functionality improved significantly; they function like generators, provide power and stabilise voltage.