ARENA Pledges Funding Support To 4.2GWh Of Battery Storage Across Australia

Eight large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) projects in various parts of Australia have been selected to receive funding support worth AU$176 million (US$118.07 million).
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced last week that the eight projects, which will add up to 2GW/4.2GWh in total, have been chosen from a shortlist of 12, which in turn had been whittled down from 54 expressions of interest received.
The competitive selection process was held as part of ARENA’s Large Scale Battery Storage Funding Round. The government agency had launched the round at the start of this year intending to commit up to AU$100 million funding.
However, ARENA said in a press release that, given the high quality of applications received, it had decided to pledge the extra AU$76 million. AU$60 million of that extra funding will come from money set aside in the federal government’s October budget to enhance energy security and reliability.
The BESS projects must be equipped with advanced inverter technology that makes them so-called “grid-forming” battery assets, capable of delivering inertia as a system stability service. Historically, this crucial aspect of balancing the grid has been delivered from the rotating mass of thermal power generators.
As the transition to renewable energy gathers pace, the Australian government naturally wants to rely less and less on those conventional power assets. ARENA has to date already supported several advanced inverter battery projects – one prominent example is the Tesla-Neoen Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia which got an advanced inverter upgrade earlier this year.
In fact, five out of eight BESS projects ARENA has supported with AU$81 million prior to the latest announcement are grid-forming, with the 150MW/194MWh Hornsdale BESS the largest of those so far. As the table below shows, the eight selected projects announced last week are on a much bigger scale.
Aside from the retrofit of advanced inverters at the existing 300MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery – Australia’s biggest BESS – all of the selected projects will have two-hour storage duration or more.