Battery storage the new, clean peaker, CEC says

AGL battery storage

A new study by the Clean Energy Council argues that large-scale battery storage is now the superior choice for electricity peaking services, based on cost, flexibility, services to the network and emissions.

“Large-scale batteries are now undoubtedly the best option to meet periods of high electricity demand,” Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton says.

According to the Clean Energy Council’s new paper, Battery Storage – The New, Clean Peaker, batteries are cheaper than open-cycle gas turbine plants for providing electricity peaking services.

The paper compares a new 250 MW gas peaker with a 250 MW four-hour grid-scale battery, finding that the battery storage option provides cost savings of more than 30 per cent while offering greater flexibility and significantly reducing emissions intensity.

Related article: Santos boss to get big bonus

“Batteries can provide a premium peaking service in periods of high demand traditionally met by peaking gas plants,” Thornton said.

“Batteries can ramp up quickly, have near zero start-up time and provide a better frequency response.

“Electricity demand must match supply at all times, and so on very hot days when demand spikes we quickly need more supply to respond. Sometimes, it’s only for a few seconds; other times, it’s for a couple of hours. In this respect, the capability of large-scale batteries is unrivalled. Over the past three years, batteries have been essential in keeping the grid stable and keeping power flowing to energy users.”

Related article:Creating clean transport fuels from waste

The Australian Energy Market Operator anticipates that between 6 GW and 19 GW of new dispatchable resources will be needed across the National Electricity Market by 2040. Battery storage is now the most prudent choice to meet this level of dispatchable capacity, a fact reflected in the market by both real projects and an estimated $6 billion investment pipeline.

Since 2018, 8.9 GW of large-scale battery storage has been financially committed, proposed and/or approved in Australia. This represents 42,000 construction and installation jobs and 11,000 ongoing operations and maintenance jobs.

This staggering momentum has seen 15 large-scale battery storage projects announced this year alone, representing 6.6 GW of capacity and $4.3 billion in investment.

“The commercial case for batteries will continue to improve as battery technology advances and new markets are established to reward the services they provide,” Thornton said.

“However, long-term investment certainty remains reliant on appropriate market reforms and forward-looking policies that incentivise new, flexible technologies that are needed to complement renewables.”