Storage and grid-scale batteries are an essential part of a strong electricity system - with large-scale storage enabling higher volumes of clean energy to be incorporated into the grid, as part of Australia's modern electricity system of the future.
The CEFC sees large-scale storage and flexible capacity projects as essential to provide flexibility, accommodate variable and distributed energy generation and allow for improved management of electricity networks.
Large-scale storage can help balance electricity supply with demand by allowing energy produced from intermittent sources such as solar and wind to be stored and dispatched as needed. This can make the electricity grid more efficient and reduce rising cost pressures. It can also provide some critical elements of grid stability.
The CEFC is providing $54 million to Phase One of the 50MW large-scale solar farm at the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub, 270km north west of Townsville. The solar farm is expected to lead to the Phase Two development of a pumped hydro storage project on the same site.
In addition, the CEFC and ARENA are working together to accelerate the development of large-scale energy storage projects.
In the first phase, ARENA and the CEFC will accelerate a number of large-scale energy storage demonstration projects already in their pipeline. ARENA will also seek further expressions of interest under its Advancing Renewables Program, setting aside around $20 million for successful new projects.
In the second phase, experience gained from the demonstration projects will help design a competitive funding round for large-scale energy storage, modelled on the successful parallel large-scale solar financing programs announced by the CEFC and ARENA in 2015.
Eligible projects are those which provide flexible capacity to the system such as battery storage, pumped hydro, concentrated solar thermal, biomass and demand management technology.
The CEFC will also consider finance
solutions for other projects not seeking ARENA funding.