ACT invests in battery storage and integration

A solar photovoltaic lab at the Australian National University. Photo: Stuart Hay, ANU Photography
A solar photovoltaic lab at the Australian National University. Photo: Stuart Hay, ANU Photography

The Australian National University will establish an international research program to improve ways to store renewable energy under a new $8 million partnership with the ACT Government.

The Government will support the program with up to $5 million, which will help to establish Australian research leadership in the integration of battery material technology with electricity network storage.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the funding will enable the ANU Energy Change Institute (ECI), which will co-ordinate the research program, to focus on commercialisation of new technologies.

The ECI comprises more than 200 staff and PhD students and is supported with more than $100 million in infrastructure and facilities.

Professor Schmidt said the university would support the program with $3 million in cash and in-kind contributions, including $2 million for new laboratory infrastructure to support battery storage and integration research.

ANU ECI director Professor Ken Baldwin said the program would feed into existing energy research at the ANU and in the ACT.

“As the proportion of renewables in the grid grows, battery storage and its integration are becoming increasingly important to address intermittency in renewable energy supply,” Professor Baldwin said.

“The government’s funding will generate enormous economic benefits for the ACT. It will enhance local industry capability and competitiveness, attracting innovative energy companies to the ACT and building the ACT’s reputation as a global leader in renewable energy and storage.”

ACT Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Simon Corbell said the development of the program showed the government’s renewable energy initiatives continued to provide benefits from the sector.

“The research program will provide new opportunities to increase the competitiveness of local businesses, including wind and solar companies, seeking to integrate battery storage into their facilities while building critical expertise in Canberra,” Mr Corbell said.

The money comes as part of the Renewable Energy Innovation Fund, which was established following the Territory’s first and second wind auctions.