Big battery power

The Clean Energy Council’s most recent report has outlined 2022’s grid-scale storage wins, as well as record high project investments, but warns state systems and policy has delayed projects from their completion. 

The CEC report, Q3 Renewable Projects Quarterly Report, highlighted the new records; the 12-month rolling average of energy output from utility-scale storage hit 1984MWh – almost four times higher than this time last year – as well as $2 billion invested into 14 new large-scale storage projects.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said that the report demonstrated a strong response from investors to the need for energy storage to support the transition to clean energy and manage the energy system, but recognised the levels revealed by the Q3 report must be accelerated into the future.

“We must provide the firming capacity needed to complement solar and wind generation and supply crucial system services such as system strength and inertia. Storage can also drastically improve the transmission economics by acting as a ‘shock absorber’ that allows much more clean, low-cost renewable energy to flow across the grid to consumers,” Mr Thornton said.

“The Queensland and Victorian Governments have recently announced enormous steps forward in policy with their respective targets, so we expect the necessary investment to follow.

“However, this report also makes it abundantly clear that Australia’s clean energy transition has been throttled by years of policy uncertainty, with just one project reaching financial close this quarter and the amount of quarterly commissioned capacity continuing the downward trend of the last few years and now at its lowest level on record at 127MW,” Mr Thornton said.

“Industry confidence to invest is growing, aided by clearer and more potent policy directions across the country, but the investment trend over the past year shows that we need a sustained focus on the energy transition from all governments.

“We need to see more projects coming more quickly through state planning systems and policy settings that send consistent signals for ongoing investment.

“Reform of the energy market must continue apace to ensure stronger investment signals and certainty and avoid any reforms that might undermine investment confidence.

“Finally, we need to fix the connection and commissioning process to get projects through all the hurdles and actually start producing power. The connection process was designed years ago to account for a few hundred megawatts connecting every few years.

“This highlights the importance of accelerating the reform of the connection process to get projects connected faster. The Clean Energy Council is working collaboratively with the Australian Energy Market Operator to achieve this through the Connections Reform Initiative.”

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