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ARENA announces $100 million funding for next-gen grid-scale batteries

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced a $100 million competitive funding round for grid-scale batteries equipped with advanced inverters to support the grid.

The latest announcement by ARENA was made on behalf of the Australian Government, with ARENA looking to provide up to $100 million in funding to new battery energy storage projects of 70 MW or larger operating in the National Electricity Market or Western Australia's Wholesale Electricity Market. The funding will support both development of new projects and existing grid-scale batteries seeking to retrofit advanced inverter capability.

"Grid scale batteries and other types of energy storage technology will be vital to support our future electricity system powered by renewables," said Darren Miller, CEO, ARENA.

The latest round of funding, he added, will demonstrate the role of advanced inverters in grid-scale batteries to provide system stability, facilitating a more efficient transition and accelerate the uptake of renewable generation.

The funding round is expected to support at minimum three projects, with a maximum grant available of $35 million per project. ARENA has noted that it will keep the applications open to all battery energy storage technologies as long as they are equipped with advanced inverters.

As per IRENA, the latest funding round is aimed at incentivizing and de-risking private sector investment and also at overcoming barriers to the deployment of advanced inverter technology. By funding advanced inverter technology at scale, ARENA hopes to provide valuable insights into the operations and emerging capabilities of advanced inverters.

"We've seen promising signs that advanced inverters can support system stability, but it's clear public sector investment is still needed to prove the technology at scale. We're confident that ARENA funding will help drive the uptake of this technology and provide valuable lessons that will benefit the industry as a whole," Miller added.

The EoI (expressions of interest) will open next month, with a due date of 31 March 2022. Few selected projects will be invited to submit a full application later in the year, ARENA stated.

Author : Shraddha Kakade
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