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Greens push for national energy storage target

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The Greens want a legislated national target for energy storage, backed by a $2.2 billion fund.

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The policy, announced in Adelaide today, is modelled on the Renewable Energy Target and aims to support domestic and grid scale storage.

The centrepiece is a multi-billion-dollar fund over four years to contract and build grid-level storage, which would be managed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the Clean Energy Regulator.

The fund would be supported by market reform, including a shift to a five-minute settlement rule for the wholesale energy market and a change to the rules to allow energy storage facilities to participate in fast frequency response.

The legislated target would be 20GW of storage by 2030 which, the Greens say, would aim to deliver between 400 and 450GWh – enough to underpin a 100 per cent renewable electricity supply.

At the residential and business level, the Greens want to establish financial incentives for storage systems up to 250KW/1MWh, similar to the small-scale renewable energy scheme that operates for rooftop solar.

The Greens argue that a number of international jurisdictions have recognised that supporting storage is needed to underpin an electricity grid substantially based on renewable energy. California, for example, has set a 1.3GW storage target by 2020.

South Australian senator Sarah Hanson-Young said a national target would support projects like the solar thermal plant to be built in Port Augusta or pumped hydro.

“If we can help batteries become as cheap as solar panels, then coal-fired power stations can close, the grid will be stable and power bills will come down,” she said in a statement.

“Instead of simply waiting for one big hydro project that could be a decade away, we should act to fast-track many small-scale grid level projects.”

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