Ergon Energy’s first production units of an innovative electricity network battery storage device will arrive in Australia next month.

The first four of the much-anticipated Grid Utility Support System (GUSS) units are due into Brisbane Port by mid-June and are expected to be deployed onto sections of Ergon’s rural network by August.

GUSS works on rural and remote sections of electricity network by charging batteries overnight when demand for electricity is at its lowest and discharging during peak demand periods.

The system has been heralded as a first for Australia and will improve the quality and reliability of electricity supply to rural customers on constrained single wire high voltage distribution voltage lines, known as SWER (Single Wire Earth Return).

GUSS is also a much quicker option than traditional upgrades of Ergon’s SWER network and represents an estimated 35 per cent cheaper option for such augmentation – a saving that will ultimately reduce pressure on electricity prices.

“We are incredibly excited about the arrival of GUSS,” said Acting Chief Executive Gordon Taylor.

“These systems not only provide a fantastic and cost effective network solution, but will help Ergon understand and enable energy storage options for customers into the future,” Mr Taylor said.

Ergon finalised a successful trial of prototype GUSS units in Far North Queensland in 2013 and will now roll the systems out strategically to sections of SWER network. They use Lithium-Ion type batteries and represent a significant advance in energy storage integration on the electricity network.

In a further bonus for other new technologies, GUSS units will also help Ergon’s network interact with customer solar PV installations in rural and remote areas more effectively and help avoid costly issues sometimes created by exported power from rooftop solar in those locations.

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