1 April 2022

Federal Labor promises power to the people with community batteries

| Ian Bushnell
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Labor battery announcements. Photo: ALP

Canberra Labor MPs David Smith, Andrew Leigh and Alicia Payne with Climate Change and Energy spokesperson Chris Bowen at today’s announcement. Photo: ALP.

The Federal Labor Opposition is promising to fund at least three community batteries in Canberra if it wins the upcoming election.

The three batteries will be installed in Casey, Dickson and Fadden, with the potential of more to follow.

Labor’s policy statement says a community battery is typically the size of a 4WD vehicle, and provides about 500 kWH of storage that can support up to 250 local households.

Climate Change and Energy spokesperson Chris Bowen said the batteries would help to cut power bills for households and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“More than one in four ACT households have installed rooftop solar panels,” he said.

READ ALSO Canberra embraces solar after new scheme shines light on zero-interest loan

“But very few have a battery, because it’s still too expensive. This means families aren’t getting the full benefits of rooftop solar, and it’s putting pressure on our electricity grid.”

Mr Bowen said this commitment would allow local households to feed solar power into the shared battery during the day and draw from it at night – cutting electricity bills and emissions, and reducing pressure on the grid.

He said residents who might be unable to install solar, such as renters and people living in apartments, would also be able to draw from excess energy stored in the battery.

The three areas were selected after consultation with the ACT Government, which has also committed $100 million to delivering at least 250 MW of battery storage across the ACT, including community-scale battery storage solutions.

Mr Bowen said an Albanese Labor Government would seek to partner with the ACT Government in delivering projects that created jobs, reduced the cost of living and provided greater energy security for Australians.

All Australian communities would also be able to apply for a battery under Labor’s Power to the People plan, which would invest $200 million to install 400 community batteries across the country.

“This is part of Labor’s Powering Australia policy to cut power bills, reduce emissions and create jobs by boosting renewable energy,” Mr Bowen said.

Member for Canberra Alicia Payne, who attended today’s announcement in Dickson with Mr Bowen and fellow Labor MPs David Smith and Andrew Leigh, said Canberra residents desperately wanted to see action on climate change and an Albanese Labor Government was needed to deliver that.

“Canberrans have been taking matters into their own hands and investing in renewables way ahead of what the Coalition government has been doing,” Ms Payne said.

READ ALSO Solar powered electric appliances ‘hot options’ as ACT homeowners go green

She said an Albanese Labor Government had a comprehensive plan around climate action that would take Australia to 82 per cent renewables by 2030, create 600,000 jobs and reduce power bills by $275 a year on average.

“This is the action we need and I’m so proud to be part of a team that will deliver it, if elected, very soon.”

Chief Minister Andrew Barr welcomed the announcement that an Albanese Labor Government would invest in ACT’s energy infrastructure of the future.

The ACT Government had committed to delivering at least 250 MW ‘large-scale’ battery storage, and would include community batteries.

“This will be distributed across the ACT, including the use of community-scale battery storage solutions to support a distribution network with an increasing penetration of solar PV (photovoltaic).

“This commitment demonstrates the ability to deliver a net zero future if there is a willingness to invest by governments.”

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Stirling Butcher8:24 pm 27 Apr 24

Interesting. Does anyone have any details on how it works? Does it serve the whole community equally for those with and without batteries? Do the batteries serve the local few suburbs or a wider area?

Capital Retro3:27 pm 02 Apr 22

Both April 2020 and April 2021 in Canberra were two of the coldest Aprils on record.

With today’s “cold snap”, 2022 promises to deliver the same after a very cool summer where we only had two days when the temperature exceeded 30 degrees Celsius.

I didn’t even switch over last year’s winter cycle to summer cycle on my electric air-conditioner. As a result, I got the lowest electricity bill for the last quarter I have ever received.

So, it’s pretty clear that the global warming claims supported by repeated media scare campaigns have finally “run out of steam” (I liked that).

That old thing called averages is kicking in again so the new-fangled community batteries will end up like abandoned ACTION bus shelters.

“Net-zero” will never happen simply because it isn’t needed.

Well, there you have it, decades of peer reviewed science completely refuted by
*checks notes*….

one cold year experienced by elderly Canberra man.

“That old thing called averages…”
A subject worth understanding better than you display, CR.

Well, there you have it, decades of peer reviewed science completely refuted by
*checks notes*….
Yet, when we have one hot summer, it’s Soapbox time for the Greens

HiddenDragon6:37 pm 01 Apr 22

Aside from the stated/claimed benefits of community batteries, there might be an added benefit if more people come to understand the implications for their very comfy, privileged lifestyles of “real action on climate change” within the limitations of current technologies.

Time to move to Casey, invest in a sound system that would make a U2 concert sound like a bumble bee, turn on five freezers and every light in the house. After all, I’d only be using the excess solar from the proletariat. I’m sure they’d understand

You assume it is cost-free for your nett demand.

No phydeaux, it was sarcasm, but how is the draw on power going to be governed? The big family in the five bedroom house with solar panels v the next door five bedroom house without? That community battery is backed up by solar from the suburb’s neighbourhood roofs. Those without solar get the same benefit. You’ve forked out the dough, next door has not, but get the same benefit

The family with Solar Panels would get paid for their electricity output to the grid which would be stored in the battery.

The family without solar panels of course would not.

Not that complex.

Futureproof, I responded to the serious point in your facetious comment, and the basic response stands to your plain version. Why do you assume it is unmetered, thus unpriced?
Why should the provider (PV owner) care who “gets” the electricity for which the provider has been paid at market spot price? ANU analysed four ownership and use models using Jacka as a proposal, showing benefits. Key elements are that local power distribution is cheaper than trunking power around the landscape, and stability is improved.
WA appears to have a system where people effectively rent a share of a larger battery with a fixed power allocation, though that approach does not seem applicable here under NEM rules.

Capital Retro3:13 pm 02 Apr 22

I’m happy to assist in paying your relocation expenses to WA, phydeaux.

OK CR, I’ll tot up the expected expenses. Where do I send the bill please? Do not be at all nervous about the fact I have not contracted to go, no, not at all. 🙂
Bringing WA into the NEM may be a more useful strategic option. I see there are (possibly election-related) promises about another connector to bring Tasmanian hydro power to our adjacent island. The electricity market is evolving in predicted ways, despite the general drag of the present government and its funders.

Is this an April Fools joke, Finland connect a new 1600MW nuclear power reactor to their grid a few weeks ago, to supply reliable power 24/7/365, and the ALP is promising a 500kWH battery that might supply 250 homes for an hour.

Capital Retro1:31 pm 01 Apr 22

I fear that it is not a joke but virtue signaling isn’t necessarily about good outcomes.

Could very well be. Just checked yes it is April 1. Clueless this lot.

Impressive non sequitur implied there, nobody.
“Community batteries” are there to absorb surplus power during the day and return it at night, just like a household battery but on a small (community) scale, as discussed in the article. Benefits include non-wastage of generated power, improved grid stability, less need for peak transmission, lower household costs.
Are they the intended benefits of a nuclear power station? Would we set one up in Casey or Dickson? Might a massive plant exacerbate transmission problems and present a SPOF?
Australia in 2021 generated 9% (and rising) of its total energy from solar, of which two-thirds was local rather than large scale and thus needing energy storage to maximise utility. Finland generated 0.14%, 62x less. Maybe this has something to do with available sunshine? Different solutions for different circumstances, maybe?
Contrary to your claim, it is 3 x 500kWH community batteries that are promised not “a” battery, and contributing to a 250MW local government commitment fwtiw.
I note that there is debate in the EU whether to classify nuclear as “green”. Our best solution to waste appears to remain bury it and hope. A better solution would be a boost for nuclear power.
However, quick solutions are not abetted by the Olkiluoto 3 example (the reactor in question). It is the first reactor in Europe in 15 years, first in Finland in 40 years, over 12 years late (due in 2009) and finished for nearly 4x budget (€11B vs €3B); acrimonious court case a €450m bonus. Other advertising may be needed to burnish the image, not to mention the relevance. I do not arbitrarily exclude nuclear power, but its Australian case is not yet made.

You realise batteries are energy storage devices rather than pure generation right? Not sure of your comparison when they are designed to achieve totally different things.

Although funny that you bring up the Finnish nuclear reactor, which isn’t actually fully operational yet.

It’s only over a decade behind scheduled delivery and billions over cost.

It was approved in 2002.

So yes, I suppose if you want to follow the Finnish example, we may have a nuclear power plant sometime in the 2040s for billions more than the readily available renewable alternatives.

April Fools indeed.

I recommend we place this power plant close to Macarthur. Give the Tuggeranong area the infrastructure projects that they have been crying out for.

Capital Retro6:36 pm 01 Apr 22

Maybe we could have a community garden first?

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