A $2.2 billion battery storage fund providing incentives for home battery storage of up to $7000 per battery has been announced by the Australian Greens party.

Each quarter, $137.5 million will be made available for use from the fund.

Battery storage in Australia is taking off, with household battery storage uptake tripling in 2017 and expected to reach 33,000 in 2018. However, the Greens recognise the industry is still developing and this boost will improve access for households and help manufacturers reduce costs and increase production.

As the landscape and economics of battery storage are changing rapidly, the size of the grant will taper down annually and a review will be conducted halfway through the scheme to assess the size of the grant, taking into account battery prices in each state of the scheme, the resulting payback periods and the performance of the scheme. If any changes to the size of the grant in years three and four are required, three months advance notice will be provided.

The opportunities presented by the huge growth in distributed energy storage will be missed if the behind the meter technology is unable to coordinate. The aggregation of home battery systems provides the opportunity to save consumers money while adding additional flexibility and security to the grid when required.

To be eligible for the scheme, households will need to use qualified system providers installing battery systems that meet a set of minimum technical requirements, so batteries are safe and capable of (where technology permits) participating in a sophisticated distributed energy arrangement, such as a virtual power plant.

The goal of the scheme is to reduce the consumer’s effective payback period of batteries to as close to three years as possible, close to the best payback period for average solar PV systems in some parts of Australia. Guidelines will be developed to determine the precise level of subsidy provided to achieve this goal, with regard to:

  • The size of the desired battery storage system
  • The cost of the desired battery storage system
  • Which state the consumer is in

Ten per cent of the funding cap each quarter will be set aside for low income households, who will be eligible to receive double the allocated grant in that year.

The scheme will work in harmony with state-based schemes by topping up state based grants. For example, if a household receives the Victorian Labor subsidy of $4838 in 2019, they will still be eligible to receive up to $2162 from the Federal Government grant.

This policy will be fully costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

Adam Bandt, Greens climate change and energy spokesperson said, “We want to supercharge demand for batteries in households and businesses.

“Instead of a one-way street, our energy system needs to transform into a distributed, coordinated smart grid with battery storage at the heart of that transformation.

“Two million Australians have already embraced solar. The next step is battery storage. 70 per cent of homeowners with rooftop solar want batteries, but research indicates a lack of government incentives have inhibited the uptake of batteries. Instead of encouraging the uptake of batteries, the government is just spruiking coal.

“Our $2.2 billion plan will help households and businesses embrace and enjoy the benefits of battery storage and extra support will be given to low-income households to ensure they don’t miss out.

“More battery storage will help Australia reach 100 per cent renewables as soon as possible by keeping pollution and power prices down.”

Scheme design:

1 Up to $7000 $550 million ($137.5M limit each quarter)
2 Up to $5950 $550 million ($137.5M limit each quarter)
3 Up to $5355 $550 million ($137.5M limit each quarter)
4 Up to $4820 $550 million ($137.5M limit each quarter)
TOTAL N/A $2.2 billion

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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