South Australia announces battery storage to defend energy security

An energy storage facility
Contributed by Ugly

Yesterday (14 March 2017), South Australia’s premier Jay Weatherill announced a new energy security plan, including a commitment to build 100 MW of grid-based battery storage.

The state is undaunted by attacks against it, for daring to buck the trend and do something about tackling the carbon emission problem in practical ways.

Now South Australia’s Government is starting a fund for projects that build storage across the grid, and requiring new generation projects to demonstrate how they contribute to energy security.

This comes about after a successful public campaign and petition that almost 2220,000 people signed in four days, which sent a strong message of public support for new cleaner technologies.  The importance of public support cannot be underestimated, because this is the only way to tackle a well-heeled lobby that is fighting tooth and nail, to prevent any change.

South Australia’s stand deserves support and it can be utilised as a wedge to pressure for action in other states.

The biggest downside now, is that the federal government has been working overtime to block storage technologies, in favour of the market operated national grid, where the interest of the private providers is not to store, but use as much as possible. The greater the energy use, the higher the profit.

The existing system, which sets prices on usage and not storage facilitates this.

With the national grid, these companies are also able to use the creation of artificial shortages to jack up the price they charge. Power storage works to prevent spot shortages and therefore works counter to the creation of artificial shortages and keeps prices down.

That’s because the way electricity is priced by the national energy market favours the generation and transmission of power, not power storage.

The need for a stepped up national campaign for renewables and energy storage has never been greater. Other states need to learn from the example.

In the end, it is the federal government that must be pressed into pulling away from working for the fossil fuel industry.

 

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