15 March 2022

Batteries of all sizes needed to strengthen grid as ACT prepares to bid adieu to gas

| Lottie Twyford
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Players from Manuka tennis club

Players from Manuka Tennis Club – the ACT’s first carbon-neutral tennis club – standing in front of their new solar battery storage system. Photo: ACT Government.

Batteries will play an increasingly important role in backing up rooftop solar as the Territory prepares to transition away from gas by 2045, according to the ACT Government.

The current grid would be unlikely to support a complete diversion from gas and the associated increase in demand, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reductions Shane Rattenbury acknowledged.

“We’re in the middle of a major transition of our energy system and, with population growth, we’re going to need to upgrade the electricity grid anyway,” he said.

“But with the electrification of so many things – be it households, businesses, the industrial sector and, of course, our transport system – we will need to strengthen the grid,” he said.

He anticipated this would happen through an increasing reliance on “batteries of all scales” including household, neighbourhood and large-scale industrial batteries.

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Mr Rattenbury noted the other strength of batteries is that, because a lot of electricity use occurs at night, they allow solar panels to better reach their full potential.

“These solar panels can power up the batteries during the course of the day and then draw the electricity back down at night at a time when electricity prices are higher due to higher demand on the grid,” he explained.

Manuka Tennis Club – which has just become the ACT’s first carbon-neutral club, thanks in part to 44 solar panels as well as a battery installed through the government’s Next Gen program – knows all about this.

Club president Bill Brummit explained the club’s biggest charge on its electricity bills, before installing the system, was for lighting the courts at night.

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“Without the battery, we would be selling the electricity generated from the solar panels during the day and buying back at a more expensive rate at night. With the battery, we can run a full night of competition tennis off the battery and still have two per cent left at the end.

“Once the battery is fully charged in the daytime, we’re feeding electricity back into the grid,” Mr Brummit explained – which means they are now also saving money.

He said the investment also “aligns with the values of [the club’s] members”.

The Next Generation (Next Gen) Energy Storage program allows Canberrans to receive a rebate of up to $3500 or 50 per cent of a solar battery’s price – whichever is lower.

Group of people standing in front of a tennis court

President of Manuka Tennis Club Bill Brummit, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reductions Shane Rattenbury with an accredited solar installer and assistant director of the Next Gen program Emma Gillies. Photo: ACT Government.

Since the program’s inception in 2017, more than 2240 battery storage systems, including Manuka Tennis Club’s, have been installed through it.

Six more retailers have now been certified to come on board in what Mr Rattenbury described as “good news for the community and the environment”.

Mr Rattenbury said the addition of more retailers to the program would lead to more competition and innovation in the solar battery market and hoped to see different businesses take different approaches and supply different kinds of products.

Interested businesses are encouraged to apply.

“I look forward to working together to secure Canberra’s renewable energy future,” Mr Rattenbury said.

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Noting that Andrew McAleer and David J Whittem both appear happy to copy-paste disinformation; no critical filtering apparent.
Disinformation is deliberately deceptive use of information, intending to mislead, often including statements which are blatantly false.
In this case the fact that the source article is disinformation is obvious from the easiest fact checks.
Given that McAleer, at least, admitted the copy-paste then in that context it is misinformation (misleading but lacking intent). There is no doubt about the intent of the original author though (author unknown, according to one of the other places I found the same tripe).
The usual social media style of “Click now. Think later, maybe”, is not helping anyone, even those passing it on.

Capital Retro4:33 pm 19 Mar 22

“The rains that do fall will never fill our dams”.

Greatest dis-information of the century and you and your fellow-travelers fell for it.

I do not doubt your passion, CR, but please try to say something vaguely topic-relevant, or even related to anything I have ever said.

Why don’t you post the whole quote CR if you want to bring other topics in to this? What Flannery said is actually correct, run-off and seasonal rainfall patterns have shifted significantly. Even in extremely wet La Nina periods like we are currently experiencing, the run-off is actually lower than it would otherwise be and has been historically.

No doubt you’ll ignore the actual evidence again though to bang your unchangeable opinion.

“We’re already seeing the initial impacts and they include a decline in the winter rainfall zone across southern Australia, which is clearly an impact of climate change, but also a decrease in run-off. Although we’re getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that’s translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers. That’s because the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems”

Just how will batteries manage to balance the huge early morning & evening energy peak loads for heating & cooking once gas is out of the picture? Are there some publicly available calculations showing the increase in total grid load over and above where we are today?

Capital Retro11:50 am 17 Mar 22

When your expensive battery goes into thermal runaway mode you can use it as a barbecue.

Batteries won’t be the main technology used for doing longer period grid firming, although as EVs become more prevalent, overnight charging will lessen some of the impact of daytime demand peaks.

There’s plenty of information about this out there but here’s a good overview of the process and idea behind it.


HiddenDragon7:18 pm 16 Mar 22

Just as well Australia’s fossil fuel exports are going gangbusters so we will be able to pay for the imported batteries (and solar panels, and EVs etc. etc.)

We become importers of new technologies through blind protection of old ones.
We had the skills and resources to get in at the ground level twenty years ago, yet still some people want to hold us back, to become poor supplicants for things we could have done and exported ourselves.

Even with rebates and interest free gov backed loans – solar batteries are still too expensive

We’ve sorted out the problems from loose asbestos insulation, have only begun to sort out the problems from flammable cladding, and now rush to install flammable batteries on our homes. Will they need to be removed or replaced by another government program in 10-20 years, demanded by the community after several dreadful fires?

Capital Retro10:40 am 16 Mar 22

“These solar panels can power up the batteries during the course of the day and then draw the electricity back down at night at a time when electricity prices are higher due to higher demand on the grid,” he explained.

But, but , but we (ACT) only use renewables (day and night) and we are told they are cheaper than fossils which will no longer be there anyhow so the “demand” has nothing to do with it.

This needs to be clearly explained.

Which it has been multiple times.

You didn’t listen or comprehend then, so why ask again.

Capital Retro1:10 pm 16 Mar 22

Well since you know all about it and no one else has volunteered to speak up, how about you tell me again?

I will accept a link.

Capital Retro6:18 pm 16 Mar 22

Yes, I seen that before and a lot of is speculative. At some stage we will have blackouts because there won’t be enough energy to go around.

At the end of the day it will be underwritten by taxpayer funded subsidies.

“ At some stage we will have blackouts because there won’t be enough energy to go around.
At the end of the day it will be underwritten by taxpayer funded subsidies.”
“ Yes, I [have] seen that before and a lot of [it] is speculative.”
As you were saying, CR (albeit your grammar is fractured)

By the way, CR, insufficient energy energy causes brownouts. Blackouts are interruptions. Please understand your topic.

“At some stage we will have blackouts because there won’t be enough energy to go around.”

The irony of you writing this sentence after calling the ACT Government’s real world purchase of renewable energy generation capacity “speculative”.

And yes, continuing to push more expensive fossil fuel generation sources would require massive subsidies by the taxpayer. So why would you promote it?

Capital Retro9:36 pm 16 Mar 22

And the pile-on begins.

Capital Retro9:38 pm 16 Mar 22

I think that what you are trying to say, chewy is that your battery is bigger than my battery.

Capital Retro10:26 am 17 Mar 22

Brownout = good
Blackout = bad.

No Capital Retro,
I’m saying that if you actually knew what you were talking about, you’d understand the electricity demand and generation patterns that lead to higher evening electricity prices on the national grid.

Hint: a lot of it has to do with those lovely fossil fuel generators you are so fond of.

Ironically, you think it supports them, whereas in reality it actually highlights the need for significantly more energy storage capacity in the grid as those fossil fuel generators are retired in the next 10-20 years.

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