The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $445,000 funding for AGL Energy Limited (AGL) to develop a business case for grid-connected energy storage in South Australia.

ARENA CEO, Ivor Frischknecht, said integrating storage into Australia’s electricity networks would enable more homes and businesses to be supplied by renewables.

“Commercial scale storage is especially important for enabling higher penetrations of renewables where less base load energy is provided by fossil fuels,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“The larger storage devices being explored may allow AGL to get more value from its renewable generators by delivering energy at times when demand is high.”

“In particular, the project will look into feeding the large amount of energy produced overnight by AGL’s South Australian wind farms back into the grid during the day.”

“WorleyParsons and ElectraNet are partnering with AGL on the $1 million project, which will build on previous studies that showed a case for commercial storage.”

“The involvement of electricity infrastructure operator ElectraNet and energy retailer and generator AGL ensures the study will produce valuable results and create momentum.”

Electranet will address how storage would interact with the electricity networks rules and regulations. Worley Parsons are leading technology selection, along with developing technical specifications, timeline, and costs estimates.

Mr Frischknecht said the project would set out a clear pathway for establishing commercial scale, grid integrated electricity storage in Australia.

“It will refine and select the best storage technology for the market and outline costs and benefits involved.”

“The project will also examine the potential to defer network infrastructure upgrades and enhance ElectraNet’s transmission network through peak load management.”

“The results will be shared with the industry, providing the groundwork for other players to consider their own business case for commercial storage.”

“In the long term it could potentially become the norm for new renewable energy installations, increasing their competitiveness and leading to more renewables in Australia.”

The study is scheduled for completion in September 2015.

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