Local batteries the latest in green energy push

Local batteries the latest in green energy push

By David Schout

A series of renewable energy batteries will be installed throughout neighbourhoods within the City of Melbourne as part of a wider green energy push.

In a pilot scheme due to begin next year, the council will install small “neighbourhood-scale” batteries around the city to store energy and release it when required.

A business case for the pilot battery network will be developed with a potential future capacity of five megawatts by 2024.

The “Power Melbourne” scheme is part of a wider push to have the entire municipality powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the City of Melbourne had been a leader in sustainability for “decades” and predicted the move would encourage more innovation in the battery sector.

She called on the private sector and state government to join the scheme.

“Power Melbourne is one way we can contribute to a greener future, but we won’t be able to do this alone, so we will be calling on government and the private sector to get involved,” Cr Capp said.

“We are looking for likeminded partners to join us in delivering cutting-edge technology that makes our city more sustainable, and delivering future savings to businesses and residents.”

Battery storage technology is environmentally friendly because it can store renewable energy and release it during times of peak demand, for example on particularly hot days.

It is valuable because of the flexibility it provides, and the ability to respond almost instantaneously to help maintain grid stability.

According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the use of batteries for renewable energy was expected to increase over the coming years due to the technology’s versatility and falling costs.

Greens Cr Rohan Leppert, the council’s environment portfolio chair, said battery storage had a huge role to play within urban environments.

“Power Melbourne will deliver a huge amount of insight and data into how we can best reform our electricity networks to encourage more renewables and battery storage,” he said.
“Energy storage will help make more efficient use of the network, and will play an important role in accelerating our transition to a highly renewable electricity grid and low carbon economy. The neighbourhood-scale batteries will be coordinated to deliver sustainable energy back into the grid when it is needed most.”

The council has allocated $300,000 in this year’s Budget to deliver the pilot.

It said that future battery locations will be proposed for areas where network demand is constrained or expected to increase over the coming decades.

The City of Melbourne’s operations — for example street lights and gyms — are already powered by 100 per cent renewable energy via the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project •

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