The state of Western Australia territory is “weeks away” from offering a regulatory solution to pave way for the installation of battery storage systems and, specifically, to transmit power back into the electricity grid. The development has been announced by state Energy Minister and Treasurer Mike Nahan who indicated that solar photovoltaic will probably consider the bulk of generating capacity added to the territory’s electricity grids in the future.
With more than 500 megawatts of distributed solar photovoltaic now in existence and about 20% growth yearly, the state of Western Australia is in accordance with much of the sunburnt nations in welcoming residential rooftop solar. It could now see huge development in battery installations, with territory regulators intent on clearing regulatory hurdles currently impeding the battery storage development.
“Reform to the electricity industry is an important issue for this government,” Energy Minister Mike Nahan stated.
“[Grid operator] Western Power and [state-owned utility] Synergy are currently in discussions to achieve a solution to allow batteries to export to the grid. I expect to make an announcement in the coming weeks.”
Currently the installation of batteries is permitted in the territory, however they are not permitted transmit electricity to the grid.
“There are currently 440 customers within the South West Interconnected Network (SWIS) that have batteries installed and draw from those storage facilities for their own use,” a Synergy spokesperson briefed PV magazine in a statement.
“Synergy and Western Power are now working towards is entering into a non-reference service agreement that will allow storage customers with a means to export into the network,” the Synergy spokesperson continued.
The current limitation of transporting to the grid from batteries is a provision of the “reference agreement” with which Western Power and Synergy operate. Synergy says that this is an outcome of the agreement having been drawn up in a time in which global battery storage was not anticipated.
“There was a significant level of the unknown regarding the direction of those future technologies at the time the previous access arrangement was approved,” Synergy stated.
The move to clear the way for extensive battery storage is in line with a transition in the conservative Western Australian government’s procedure to solar PV and storage.
“Australia is an ideal test market for residential battery storage products due to high peak tariffs and the relatively large existing base of installed solar photovoltaic systems,” Nahan told news.com.au.
A tested project in the territory’s capital Perth is currently unveiling battery storage in a new residential area.
“This government has done more for renewable energy in this state than any other, including the Australian-first trial to examine battery storage and energy efficiency incentives for consumers at Alkimos Beach, north of Perth,” said Nahan.