Australian Push May Clear More Doors For Batteries on Power Grids

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
May 9, 2017

Battery manufacturers around the world are watching to see whether Australia’s more wind-power dependent state can keep the power on by installing grid-scale batteries by December of this year.

A decade of Australian political stalemate over energy and climate policy has effectively led to gas and power shortages. This also resulted in high energy prices threatening households and businesses.

If solar batteries help solve Australia’s problems by storing surplus energy generated by wind and solar power, other countries like the Philippines, Indonesia and Chile will follow. Also, the more dependent the grid is on intermittent sources like solar and wind, the more flexible the backup sources should be. That’s the advantage of battery storage, it can be switched on and off easily and responds faster compared to a gas peaking plant.

South Australia, where the wind and rooftop solar make up 44% of power, needs to install big solar batteries after the state-wide blackout that happened last year. The state has little back-up since coal-fired power plants have been closed down due to the rapid expansion of renewable energy. It has also made the state more dependent on power from the state of Victoria, which is its only link to the national electricity market.

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