A pathway to community-scale batteries
Decentralised power storage and generation are fast becoming a reality as trials light up neighbourhoods across Australia. The end goal is independent, reliable and affordable energy generation and storage across the country.
Community-scale batteries are also known as community, neighbourhood or neighbourhood-scale batteries. These batteries may promise to one day play an important role in this goal, making the most of the country’s existing use of solar energy. According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), more than 3 million Australian households now have rooftop solar installed. That’s more per capita than any other nation.
In March 2023, the CSIRO released the Renewable Energy Storage Roadmap report. It suggests Australia will need to dramatically increase its energy storage if we’re to support a successful renewable energy transition. The roadmap estimates that, by 2030, the National Energy Market will need six times more energy storage than is available today.
As a key initiative under our Sustainability Strategy 2021-25, our Jacka Battery Initiative: Community-Scale Battery Storage System is contributing towards our goal of zero-emissions suburbs for Canberra and helping to create a pathway towards more energy storage.
How community-scale batteries work
Community-scale batteries can be placed around urban areas in any given neighbourhood or street. Smaller than large batteries like the ones installed by Tesla in South Australia, but larger than a household battery, many are looking at community-scale batteries to plug a gap in our future energy system.
Community-scale batteries can be as small as a fridge right up to the size of a shipping container. Usually they aren't connected to a specific home or building like regular batteries. Instead, they're usually located in public spaces. This may include the edge of suburbs, open space or parks throughout a suburb. They are then connected directly into the grid. This is known as being in front of the meter.
This way the battery can soak up excess power generated throughout the neighbourhood, such as through solar panels.
Then during times of peak demand like at night time, this electricity can then be fed back into the grid. Powering homes when they need it most.
This idea is central to the promise of decentralised energy production and storage. Where energy grids are more robust, reliable and secure.
An opportunity for Jacka
We've spent the last few years to understand what opportunities a community-scale battery could provide for Jacka. We did by engaging with experts from the energy industry, academia and other stakeholders
We’ve progressed with finding a head contractor for the Jacka Battery Initiative's Communit: Scale Battery Storage System.
The first step in a 2 stage tender process was to seek Expressions of Interest (EOI) to find a head contractor. The EOI went to market late 2022 and applications closed on Tuesday 17 January 2023. We're now preparing the second stage, a Request for Proposal for the shortlisted EOI participants. We’re expecting this will be out to market shortly.
Read the following documents for more information on the Jacka Battery Initiative.