Western Power set to add new community batteries across region to boost South West Interconnected System

Craig DuncanSouth Western Times
A Tesla community power bank in Vasse.
Camera IconA Tesla community power bank in Vasse. Credit: US Consulate Perth

Western Power is set to add new community batteries across the South West as part of a $143 million nationwide program aiming to enhance energy resilience, reliability and sustainability.

The State is set to receive 28 new systems from the first round of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency community battery rollout program, adding extra capacity to the South West Interconnected System.

Western Power energy transition executive Matt Cheney said community batteries played an important role in contributing to decarbonisation goals because they could soak up excess renewable energy generation from surrounding rooftop solar and allow the connection of even more renewable energy to the network.

Once online, the batteries will increase energy storage capacity to ease pressure on the network during peak times and reduce greenhouse gas emissions when paired with renewable energy.

Western Power has not yet decided on specific locations for new batteries and will need to pass hurdles including community consultation, planning approval and commercial agreements.

Mr Cheney said the new batteries would add to Western Power’s existing fleet, which has operated since 2018.

“This funding support from ARENA will help accelerate the deployment of community batteries across the network,” he said.

“Not only will it help reduce or remove barriers to future deployment of much-needed storage on the network, it will also assist in building the required industry capability.”

ARENA’s funding will likely see a total of 370 community batteries rolled out across the country, with chief executive Darren Miller stating the agency was pleased to provide support.

“Our program will have a significant impact upon Australia’s energy and grid security while delivering cleaner and more cost-effective energy for our communities,” he said.

“We are encouraged to see this important asset class being demonstrated at such a scale and expect that this funding round will kick start the neighbourhood-scale storage sector.”

ARENA expects to launch a second round of community battery funding later this year.

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