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Government’s pledge to ‘supercharge’ nation’s wobbly grid a big deal for our batteries

The Queensland Government owned generator companies would be able to add another 1.5 gigawatts of battery storage to the market.

Nov 23, 2023, updated Nov 23, 2023
Prime MInister Anthony Albanese (left) and Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen (centre) with founder and CEO Vince Allen (right) during a visit to Sundrive in Sydney, Wednesday, November 1, 2023. Sundrive is Australia’s first mass production facility for solar panels. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

Prime MInister Anthony Albanese (left) and Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen (centre) with founder and CEO Vince Allen (right) during a visit to Sundrive in Sydney, Wednesday, November 1, 2023. Sundrive is Australia’s first mass production facility for solar panels. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

The Albanese Government overnight announced an expanded Capacity Investment Scheme to underwrite an additional 32 gigawatts of renewable electricity. That would include 9GW of storage and 23GW of variable renewable generation.

The expansion of the scheme also meant the renewable energy target would be phased out. It was announced to speed up investment and decision making after a marked slowdown this year.

Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said he had already been informed by Queensland’s publicly-owned energy companies, that the expanded Capacity Investment Scheme could now enable the state to swiftly bring on additional projects, including an estimated 1.5GW of extra battery storage, on top of the existing pipeline.

“Today, the world’s most respected renewable energy investors are knocking on our door to work with us and partner with us on a 22GW generation and 13GW storage and firming pipeline for system transition, and that’s because we have the policies and institutions right,” de Brenni said.

“The Palaszczuk Government has today welcomed the Albanese Labor Government’s landmark announcement to drive new clean energy generation and storage, with the initiative set to accelerate the transition.

“The renewable generation pipeline in Queensland already stands at over 60GW, and as a result of the Albanese Government’s announcement, an additional 1.5GW of dispatchable storage could be identified almost immediately through Queensland’s publicly-owned energy corporations.

“Today’s announcement by the Albanese Labor Government means now Australia can make more real progress on developing low emissions industry, driving jobs growth and investment – and Queensland is here to help.”

The package, announced by Energy Minister Chris Bowen, builds on pilot arrangements in NSW, Victoria and South Australia and is intended to share the risk of building new assets and avoid price spikes for consumers.

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“This investment will supercharge available power in the energy grid, delivering the long-term reliable, affordable and low-emissions energy system Australians deserve as our grid changes,” Bowen said.

The deal was welcomed by environment groups like Greenpeace and the Queensland Conservation Council.

QCC campaigner Stephanie Gray said it was vital that enough renewable energy and storage came online as the nation’s ageing coal-fired power stations head towards retirement.

“Without clean energy investment we risk the lights going out, and our electricity bills and carbon emissions spiralling out of control,” she said.

 

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