NT goes big on batteries

storage system
The Alice Springs Battery Energy Storage System

The Northern Territory Government has announced two significant battery projects to accelerate its plan for 50 per cent renewables by 2030. 

A battery energy storage system (BESS) for the Darwin – Katherine System

The Northern Territory Government has approved the procurement of a large-scale battery for the Darwin-Katherine grid at a project cost of $30M. The BESS is expected to pay for itself in approximately five years.

Major benefits of the BESS include:

  • Increased stability and reliability of power supply. Fluctuations caused by the increasing levels of household and business behind-the-meter solar can be managed quickly and efficiently.
  • Reduction in carbon emissions for the Territory and costs for Territory Generation. Reducing the need for gas-fired spinning reserve can deliver both cost savings of around $6.4M and emissions reductions of about 50,000 tonnes per annum.
  • Enabling more renewable energy from large scale solar projects. The potential provision of system services from the BESS to the private sector will be considered. 

The provision of central storage technology to increase system reliability and security, and to potentially provide system services to the private sector are actions recommended by the Road Map to Renewables report commissioned by the Government. 

Procurement will take place over the coming months with the BESS expected to become operational in the second half of 2022.

Related article:Time warp tech speeds up powerline repairs

Household and Business Battery Scheme (HBBS)

These batteries significantly reduce costs for households and businesses by reducing the amount of power that has to be purchased from the grid.

They also build grid stability and reduce power system costs by replacing demand for gas-fired generation during evening peaks with solar energy generated during the day.  

Lower system costs mean lower power prices.

Batteries can also be designed to build resilience for families and businesses by maintaining power supply during unavoidable outages that can occur during cyclones and extreme weather events.

Two new initiatives will be implemented to encourage the uptake of behind-the-meter batteries.

Firstly, a $6000 grant will be available to households and businesses for the purchase and installation of solar PV systems with eligible batteries and inverters, or for those who already have solar, for batteries and inverters.

The minimum size for eligible batteries is 7kWh.

Secondly, a new standard Feed in Tariff (FiT) of 8.3 cents per kWh will be offered by Jacana Energy and will apply to all new businesses and households with behind-the-meter solar installations of up to 30kW in size.

Minister for Renewables, Energy & Essential Services, Dale Wakefield said the BESS and the new $6000 grants for home and business batteries are two huge steps forward in the government’s plan for 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

“We want Territorians to have access to the latest and best technology as we build a stronger and more resilient power system for Territory households and businesses,” Minister Wakefield said.

“These initiatives will help lower power bills while maintaining secure and reliable power for Territorians.”

Further details on the BESS and the HBBS can be found here.