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Federal Govt spruiks investment in big batteries for Victoria


The Turnbull government will power up two large-scale batteries in Victoria, after dismissing a South Australian battery built by entrepreneur Elon Musk as no silver bullet for energy woes.

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The Federal Government’s renewable energy agency will match a $25 million contribution from Victoria for the new batteries near Kerang and Ballarat that will provide 55 megawatts of energy and 80 megawatts per hour of storage capacity.

“They will not only allow currently unused renewable energy to be stored instead of wasted, but also inject electricity into the grid at times of peak demand in an area known for transmission congestion,” Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said in a statement today.

“Together, they will help lower power prices and stabilise the grid.”

The rhetoric is in contrast to the Energy Minister’s approach last year, when then South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill made similar claims about the 100MW Elon Musk battery in the state’s mid-north.

At the time, Frydenberg urged caution, saying the Musk battery solution was “small compared to the scale of the problem”.

Treasurer Scott Morrison mocked the battery last year, comparing it to “the world’s biggest banana” and saying it was a distraction that would not solve the problem it was seeking to fix.

In Victoria, construction has already begun for the two lithium-ion batteries, expected to be up and running in time for the summer.

“These batteries are in positions in the network where there’s been some weakness and they remedy that,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters.

“(It) sits alongside our renewable energy targets in the sense we are adding to the total amount of electricity that’s available … that puts downward pressure on prices”.

The Edify Energy-owned and Tesla-supplied battery near Kerang is expected to provide 25MW and store 50MHw, and will be integrated with the Gannawarra Solar Farm.

The second battery, to be connected directly to the grid at a Warrenheip substation near Ballarat, is set to supply 30MW and store 30MWh

It will be owned by Spotless Sustainability Services, run by EnergyAustralia and supplied by Fluence.

Frydenberg said storage had been the “missing piece of the energy jigsaw”.

Labor senator Doug Cameron was unsurprised the government would play down the South Australian battery, built last year and announced under a state Labor government, while now spruiking its new Victorian investment.

– with AAP

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