The South Australian State Government has launched a $50 million Grid Scale Storage Fund that will accelerate investment in grid-scale energy storage and support construction of new energy storage projects in South Australia.

The State Government has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), with a view to coordinating the assessment of projects that may be eligible for joint funding under ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program(ARP).

Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said, “This multi-million dollar fund is more great news for both business and consumers, and is one of a range of measures the Liberal Government is taking to make electricity more affordable and reliable.

“The fund is technology neutral. Eligible projects must benefit the state by addressing the challenges that have driven up electricity prices in South Australia.

“For example, projects could boost the reliability of our network during peak periods or increase the security of supply at the fringe of our grid.

“The fund will leverage South Australia’s world-class renewable energy assets, as well as the engineering and technology expertise within our business and investment community.”

Federal Minister for Energy, Angus Taylor, said the commitment from the State Government helped bridge the commerciality gap for grid scale storage projects.

The $50 million funding commitment from the South Australian Government will help to realise a number of ground breaking projects that will help provide 24/7 reliable power,” Mr Taylor said.

“The Federal Government encourages investment in the storage and firming technologies needed to provide more affordable and reliable power to Australian families and small businesses.

“The Federal Government, through ARENA, has already committed more than $110 million in funding to support projects in South Australia, including a wide range of innovative energy storage projects.”

ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said ARENA had worked closely with the South Australian Government to ensure projects that met their criteria could benefit from the state funding, and get off the ground sooner.

“As more of our electricity is generated from solar and wind, it is clear that storage technologies will play a key role in delivering secure, reliable and affordable electricity,” Mr Miller said.

Proposals involving pumped hydro energy storage, hydrogen and natural gas storage, bioenergy, solar thermal and batteries are examples that could be submitted into one of the following investment streams:

  • Stream 1 – targeting behind-the-meter projects in commercial or industrial facilities, or in the distribution network
  • Stream 2 – targeting centralised, bulk energy storage projects

The single round of applications will close on 7 February 2019, to allow for successful projects to be announced by mid-2019.

There is no minimum or maximum grant amount within the $50 million Fund threshold. However, Applicants must state the amount they are applying for when submitting a Proposal.

Projects targeting financial close by the end of 2019 are preferred.

Applicants interested in applying for additional funding under ARENA’s ARP will be able to register and complete a separate second application through ARENA to be considered for co-funding.

The South Australian Government will work with ARENA to ensure projects that meet the criteria can benefit from this opportunity and get off the ground quickly.

On behalf of the Federal Government, ARENA is already supporting feasibility studies for two prospective pumped hydro plants at Cultana and Middleback Ranges, two virtual power plants trials and has contributed towards two grid scale batteries in South Australia.

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