23 April 2024

Community batteries to store solar energy coming to Canberra’s suburbs

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Community Battery

The community batteries are about the size of a small van and can deliver up to 160 kW of power. Photo: DEECCW.

Canberrans will soon be able to draw on stored electricity generated by solar panels thanks to a $1.5 million Federal Government grant to install three community batteries in the capital.

The batteries are about the size of a small van and can produce up to 160 kilowatts of power and store up to 400 kilowatt hours of energy. By April 2025, the ACT Government and energy provider Evoenergy will install them in the suburbs of Dickson in the inner north, Casey in Gungahlin and Fadden in Tuggeranong.

The grant is part of the Federal Government’s Community Batteries for Household Solar program. The program is designed to lower electricity bills, support more homeowners to install rooftop solar, allow households who cannot install solar panels to access renewable energy, reduce pressure on the electricity grid, absorb excess energy that might cause voltage spikes in the electricity grid and lower emissions.

READ ALSO When it comes to renewable energy, the power rests in the regions

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said delivering battery storage enables households to reliably access the cost-of-living relief offered by solar.

“We committed to deploy 400 community batteries to help households access cheaper, cleaner energy, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” he said.

ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Climate Action Andrew Barr said the batteries will increase storage capacity in the electricity network and allow more households to connect rooftop solar.

“The ACT continues to lead the nation on climate action, with battery storage technology a critical component of our net-zero emissions future,” he said.

“Since 2020, 100 per cent of electricity in the ACT has come from renewable sources, and initiatives like community batteries prove the viability of local renewable energy generation and storage in supporting a robust, affordable and sustainable energy grid.”

READ ALSO Nationwide strategy released to upgrade the nation to better energy use

The $200 million Community Batteries for Household Solar program will provide shared storage for up to 100,000 households, allowing stored excess solar energy to be used during peak times.

Federal Assistant Climate Change and Energy Minister Andrew Leigh said community batteries spark a powerful connection between sustainable power and social capital.

“With their capacity to store clean electricity, community batteries generate a positive charge, powering not just devices but also the spirit of cooperation,” he said.

“They’re a shining example of how a shared spark can power up an entire neighbourhood, electrifying the community.”

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The photo shows the unit before the local aimless youth tag it with graffiti.

Anyway, 400kWh storage isn’t much. Daily electricity usage in Canberra is around 8000 MWh, according to a 2015 ACT govt report on energy consumption. So one of these community batteries satisfies about 1/20000th of daily demand in Canberra. Probably these units are being installed to raise the visibility of renewables, as a sort of public message, than a meaningful solution to PV energy storage.

Whilst I’m not a fan of these batteries, you’re missing the purpose of them.

Which is not to provide or supply power to areas for large periods of time but to smooth demand curves, peaks and voltages fluctuation created by renewable sources in the areas. They do this by storing power during sunny periods and then discharging during periods where the sun isn’t shining and grid electricity costs are high.

If done properly from an economic standpoint, they “buy” cheap energy and then “sell” it back to the grid when prices are much higher making a profit.

Wow… “and store up to 400 kilowatt hours of energy.”

My solar generates between 105-110kwh in summer. That’s really not a whole lot of storage these days when many houses are sporting 5-10kwh or more solar arrays. That battery would likely be full by midday in many areas.

Instead of the taxpayer money the government blew on these, they should just pay better subsidies on residential batteries, than the current miserly level and the market will take care of the rest.

One and a half million, paying say 50% each on home batteries would certainly go much further to achieving their goals than these three local batteries and would be much more spread out around the city.

Yep…massive lithium batteries in your neighbourhood…what could possibly go wrong…..time for the adults to be in charge again

Technically, actually about 30,000 or so little batteries, about the size of AA battery cells, all packed together.

Capital Retro8:45 pm 27 Apr 24

Lithium batteries can catch fire and burn violently if over-charged, shorted, punctured, or physically damaged in any way.

HiddenDragon8:30 pm 25 Apr 24

“Since 2020, 100 per cent of electricity in the ACT has come from renewable sources……”

That claim is misleading, to the point of being fundamentally dishonest.

In the absence of cheap mass storage (which tokenistic “community batteries” most certainly are not), over-production of wind and solar power when conditions for that are optimal does not make up for under-production when conditions are otherwise.

This inconvenient truth would become immediately apparent if the big extension lead which connects the ACT to those “dirty old” coal fired power stations in the east coast grid was cut – and not just on nights like tonight.

By the same seriously dodgy logic, the ACT government might as well pretend that there is no such thing as a two hour wait for a Canberra bus on a weekend afternoon or evening, because the average wait time for all services over the course of a week is somewhat less than two hours.

Capital Retro8:46 am 26 Apr 24

The “science is settled” warmists have strangely gone missing on refuting this one.

Refuting what? What on earth do you imagine you are on about now, Capital Retro?

We know that the original author uses the term “Ponzi scheme” incorrectly, we know that article merely discusses cost-effectiveness of different battery options, and rent-seeking by power companies, and we already knew that Futureproof will follow whatever headline looks shiny to him, much like you. The article says nothing to deny the fact that anthropomorphic warming is not in any significant dispute among climatologists, nor the steps needed to change.

You lost the plot long ago.

Capital Retro3:03 pm 26 Apr 24

I see you are on “the bury CR roster” today, byline. Your response is exactly the same as what just saying and chewy 14 would say. No doubt you all read from the same page.

Those climatologists you refer to are hard to find too. I just got delivery of my 2024/2025 Yellow Pages and not one climatologist is listed.

Can’t possibly work out why a index of businesses wouldn’t contain contact details for individual scientists.

I dont know, maybe they just don’t want to be harrased by deranged conspiracy nuts, spouting discredited arguments?

You do realise however that the article posted above is only talking about the relative costs of specific energy supply options and says nothing about climate change right?

I would normally think the answer to that last question is self evident but even the most basic concepts don’t seem to be a given where some commenters are concerned.

Anthropomorphic? So “settled science” is saying climate change looks like a human? 😂 Or do you mean anthropogenic? Get it right if you want enough credibility to accuse interlocutors (different from electrocutors 😂) of losing the plot.

RiotAct readers my have been puzzled by ”anthropomorphic” , as I was.
I found this explantation (tnks to Riot I will attempt to bing it into conversation tonight, somehow. )

anthropomorphic

/ˌanθrəpəˈmɔːfɪk/

adjective

relating to or characterized by anthropomorphism.
“explanations of animal behaviour in anthropomorphic terms”
having human characteristics.
“anthropomorphic bears and monkeys”

Thanks for the attempts, guys. Anthropomorphism is attribution of human form. Anthropogeny is of study of the origins of humans. The latter has been inverted by ecologists to suggest human-caused rather than causes of humans. I prefer my own extension rather than the inversion: climate is taking the form we give it, the likeness of human damage.

Capital Retro5:13 pm 27 Apr 24

The only plot I am aware of is the one created by the rent-seeking carpetbaggers who are fleecing us.

Capital Retro8:36 pm 27 Apr 24

Warmists love to use big words. They think it gives them ascendency.

Capital Retro8:41 pm 27 Apr 24

Yes, climate scientists could be classed as businessmen as they are paid to sell their theories.

Deranged conspiracy nuts are self-funded.

Governments worldwide have spent over $5 trillion in the past two decades to subsidize wind, solar, and other so-called renewables. However, even with that astronomical financial support, the world still depends on hydrocarbons for 84% of its energy needs—down only 2% since governments started binge spending on renewables 20 years ago. So-called renewables—more accurately, unreliables—have been a giant flop. They are not viable for baseload power—even with $5 trillion in subsidies and two decades of trying. Today, using wind and solar for mass power generation is an artificial political solution that would not have been chosen on a genuinely free market for energy. Wind and solar power might be useful in specific situations. Still, it’s ridiculous to think they can provide reliable baseload power for an advanced industrial economy. It’s like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Unreliables will not replace hydrocarbons anytime soon and will certainly not bring about energy security… despite what many “serious” people believe. When it comes to reliable baseload power, most of humanity has only three choices: 1) hydrocarbons—coal, oil, and gas 2) nuclear power 3) abandon modern civilization for a pre-industrial standard of living.

Capital Retro10:25 am 25 Apr 24

Come on chewy, tell him why he is wrong.

$5 trillion in subsidies over 20 years hey? Sounds a lot.

What are the fossil fuel subsidies in that timeframe?

Oh they are significantly higher than that even if you only include explicit subsidies which ignore all negative externalities…….

Over $1 trillion per year in explicit subsidies.

Astronomical? LOL.

https://www.imf.org/en/Topics/climate-change/energy-subsidies#:~:text=also%20rarely%20taxed.-,Size%20of%20Fossil%20Fuel%20Subsidies,support%20from%20surging%20energy%20prices.

CR,
Hope you never gamble, you perennially pick the wrong horse to back.

Capital Retro2:28 pm 25 Apr 24

Hope you never go into business because your first decision will be to determine if you are losing more money by keeping the doors open or closing them.

BTW, I have never gambled in my life but you seem to know a bit about it.

A 2013 opinion piece saying we will get 20% of our power from thermal
storage by now (heating sand during the day with excess solar and using the heat in the sand at night – currently not used anywhere in Australia) somehow makes base load power issues a myth…

Capital Retro,
Strange that based on your comments, you like paying more for services than you have to and prefer opinion and ideology over actual facts and evidence.

Makes sense then that you know a lot about having to close down businesses because of losing money.

Capital Retro9:58 am 26 Apr 24

A lot of businesses are closing now because of the rising cost of cheaper renewable electricity when there is no alternatives source of energy.

“A lot of businesses are closing now because of the rising cost of cheaper renewable electricity when there is no alternatives source of energy.”

Delusional.

Even people like Buffet wouldnt touch solar etc unless there was massive govt propping up. Its a house of cards propped up with nonsense. Anyone with even half a brain can see it.

LOL,
Just exemplifying your ignorance now.

First link is about gas regulations and poor policy from governments at all levels, not the relative costs of renewables vs fossil fuels.

Outside of the elements related to gas, as has been explained to you previously, the transition to renewables has been mismanaged literally because of the influence of climate change deniers and fossil fuel industry rent seekers.

The previous federal government failed to implement structured energy policies to promote an efficient transition to the lower cost renewables, creating opportunities for price gouging, lack of investment and too high a reliance on older, unreliable fossil fuel generators which increases prices across the board.

It’s literally an argument for more investment in newer, lower cost renewables but you aren’t knowledgeable or unbiased enough to understand it.

Second link proffers a fact free opinion piece presented by Matt Canavan from a website called Stopthesethings.com

Both of these being as they say “unreliable sources” for anything to do with energy matters.

Shouldn’t the focus be on grid stability first? Locally, our biggest issue seems to be the reliability of the “poles and wires”. My thinking is the main investment priority should be in undergrounding the existing network before we install batteries.

How does the financial sidw of these community batteries work? Do househokds just get their regular grid FIT and pay the regular usage fees or is there a financial discount to the power used from these?

Is that 400kwh each or across all batteries.

1.5 million for 1200kwh is $1200 per kWh which isn’t bad. If its $1.5m or more if ACT is also chipping in then that’s terrible.

Each battery can power 30 homes.

In the act our power comes from mostly coal…

Capital Retro8:01 am 24 Apr 24

I can’t believe we have fallen for this unproven street-art device which is supplied to us from the man Albanese calls an “out of touch billionaire egotist”.

Easy to see how he became a billionaire though with plenty of gullible climate alarmists around.

I know little about them but a reliable source explains it all here: https://switchedon.reneweconomy.com.au/content/why-community-batteries-are-a-bad-idea

I would like to know why Dickson Casey and Fadden were chosen however, there have been a couple of houses in Fadden that have installed about 100 solar panels recently and maybe that has tipped the balance.

Electrifying the community indeed.

“I know little about them but a reliable source explains it all here: https://switchedon.reneweconomy.com.au/content/why-community-batteries-are-a-bad-idea

A reliable source.

Good to see you follow and trust sources that outline how the renewable energy transition is inevitable and progressing exponentially.

Sources that report on how renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels and promote thus promote an orderly and efficient move away from those older, more expensive fossil fuel generators.

Well done.

Capital Retro9:49 am 24 Apr 24

Unreliable sources of energy that are only available part time are always going to be cheaper, chewy because there will be no energy to sell.

Haha, stop mashing the buttons CR, that makes zero sense.

Renewable generation sources produce cheaper energy from a levelised cost of energy perspective, even if you include storage requirements to firm intermittent electricity production.

That measure inherently compares the total costs of production and operation etc. per unit of energy produced.

And you’ve agreed that a media source promoting those facts is a reliable source of news from which to gather information from on the topic. No need to weakly attempt to backtrack now.

Next for CR: “when selective Googling goes wrong”.

Capital Retro11:05 am 24 Apr 24

You must have missed that article “why community batteries are a bad idea”, chewy.

All that tech-babble you always refer to means nothing if your beloved renewables are not generating which is a reality you cannot deal with.

CR,
Still grasping at straws and showing basic comprehension failures.

I never commented about the worth of community batteries, only your opinion of the source of the article as being reliable. Try to keep up.

And your last statement is just a function of your ignorance. Once again, the measures used already include reliability of generation, your “reality” isn’t the one the rest of us live in.

“Tech babble”, too funny.

It should be painted white, as in white elephant……

Explain how renewables are actually cheaper, after they basically distorted the market by dynamiting or shut down perfectly good power stations? I guess if you shut down your competition , it solar looks “cheap” doesn’t it? Coal power stations can have bits replaced indefinitely – they don’t have a “use by” date, which people would know if they took of their green blinkers.

Steve,
“Explain how renewables are actually cheaper”

Um, because they literally cost less to build and operate per unit of electricity production?

https://www.csiro.au/en/research/technology-space/energy/energy-data-modelling/gencost

Nothing to do with the rest of your comment which as typical contains a mix of ideological blinkers and factual inaccuracies.

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