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After mocking SA's big battery, Feds fund another

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After ridiculing South Australia’s 100MW “world’s largest battery”, the Federal Government will provide funding for another large-scale battery for the state – but it will be less than a third the size of the Tesla facility.

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Late last month, federal Treasurer Scott Morrison called the State Government’s Tesla battery – to be completed by summer – as “so at the margin it barely is worthy of a mention”.

He said “30,000 SA households could not get through watching one episode of Australia’s Ninja Warrior with this big battery. So let’s not pretend it is a solution”.

“I mean, honestly, by all means have the world’s biggest battery, have the world’s biggest banana, have the world’s biggest prawn like we have on the roadside around the country, but that is not solving the problem,” he said.

Today, however, the Federal Government is in South Australia to push the merits of a 30MW battery it will partly fund on the Yorke Peninsula through its renewable energy agency, ARENA.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said today the Government would provide up to $12 million for the battery to be built and operational at the Dalrymple substation by February 2018.

“Expected to cost around $30 million, the battery is the first large-scale battery to be designed, built and commercially operated in Australia and backed by private investment from energy providers,” he said.

The battery will be owned by transmission network provider ElectraNet, and leased to a “major energy retailer”.

Frydenberg, who is in South Australia for the announcement, said the facility would supply fast frequency response to help balance the electricity network and reduce operating constraints on the Heywood interconnector with Victoria.

It would also “keep the lights on in the Dalrymple service area during a loss of supply by working together with the existing 90MW Wattle Point wind farm and rooftop solar PV systems in a microgrid”.

He said that “ultimately” it might put downward pressure on electricity prices, but it’s primary purpose was to add stability to the system.

ARENA chief executive ​Ivor​ ​Frischknecht​ ​said​ ​the​ ​battery​ ​​would​ ​make​ “​an​ ​important​ ​contribution​ ​to​ ​security​ ​and reliability​ ​of​ ​supply​ ​in​ ​the​ ​context​ ​of​ ​high​ ​renewable​ ​energy​ ​generation​ ​in​ ​South​ ​Australia”.

“It​ ​may​ ​not​ ​be​ ​the​ ​biggest​ ​battery​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world,​ ​but​ ​pound-for-pound​ ​it​ ​will​ ​pack​ ​a​ ​big punch​ ​in​ ​demonstrating​ ​how​ ​utility​ ​scale​ ​storage​ ​can​ ​contribute​ ​to​ ​a​ ​stronger​ ​South Australian​ ​energy​ ​network,” he said.

He said the Dalrymple battery would be “one of the largest batteries in the world”, behind the Tesla battery to be connected to French company Neoen’s wind farm near Jamestown.

State Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis welcomed the announcement.

“It’s great that the Federal Government is now supporting grid-scale battery storage technology as key to helping fix the broken national electricity market,” he said.

“I must admit that the irony is not lost on me of Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce ridiculing our 100MW Tesla battery, and just one month later funding a battery less than one-third of the capacity compared to what will be constructed near Jamestown.

“I’d like to welcome the Federal Government to the twenty-first century – they have been dragged kicking and screaming to the realisation that renewables with storage are the future of the national grid and that Government intervention is required to assist with that transition. I hope Josh Frydenberg enjoys his time here.”

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