Neighbourhood Battery Feasibility Study

Jonathan WrightNews, Renewable Energy

Geelong Sustainability is undertaking a study with funding support from DELWP into the suitability of various types of battery installation to provide “Distributed Storage” and support intermittent renewable energy generation, mainly PV Solar.

Distributed Storage and Neighbourhood Batteries for PV Solar in the Greater Geelong area

The energy system is in the midst of a major transformation as efforts are underway across society to move away from fossil fuels and adopt renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Victorian State Govt has legislated to have 40% of the electricity supply from renewable sources by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

The rollout of rooftop PV Solar for both residential and commercial sites in Victoria has been remarkable. With so much Solar energy being generated during the day, problems are now emerging with the stability of the grid and for consumers with PV being allowed to export. 

Unfortunately, the operators of the Grid – DNSPs such as Powercor and Ausnet are directing that new PV Solar installations are limited or prevented from exporting PV Solar generation in order to protect the grid. Of course, such grid connection issues are not helpful for increasing the uptake of new PV Solar in the Greater Geelong area.

Distributed storage located “Behind the Meter” and Neighbourhood Batteries located “In Front of The Meter” on the grid, may be able to provide a solution to soak up the excess PV generation during the day and then discharge that energy during peak demand periods.

Geelong Sustainability has been awarded a grant by DELWP to look at a range of options for installing distributed storage across the Geelong area. Geelong Sustainability is working with Tango Energy, City of Greater Geelong and ITP Renewables to develop various technical scenarios and assess the feasibility of each option.

Geelong Sustainability is liaising with Powercor on specific sites in Geelong that have been identified as problematic and, therefore, suitable for the installation of Neighbourhood batteries. The study will also look at alternative battery installation types to compare and evaluate the most suitable approaches as renewable energy becomes more prevalent on the grid.

The study being undertaken will look in depth at the following options:

  • Installing Medium Scale batteries at problem sites on the grid next to transformers. Working in conjunction with Powercor, sites are being investigated where excess PV Solar can be “soaked up” during the day and then returned to customers in the evening peak.
  • Installing Medium scale batteries (250 kWh+) in conjunction with PV Solar at shopping centres and community centres. The on-site generation and storage for the centres will reduce dependence on the grid and provide a lower cost solution to the facility.
  • Finding ways to encourage / support residential customers with PV and or looking to install PV to also install a residential battery. That way excess PV generation will be stored in the battery during the day, rather than causing problems on the grid and conversely, at peak times, the battery can supply the residence rather than the grid.

In the near future an information webinar will be organised to present the various options and to seek Community input as to how best to increase the rollout of distributed storage in the Greater Geelong region.

The outcome of the overall study will provide direction on what is the most sensible approach for both Geelong Sustainability and DELWP to undertake in order to support the rollout of more distributed storage.

Longer term Geelong Sustainability may in a position to rollout further programs to install batteries across the region.  If you would like to know more about this project please contact Mark at renewableenergy@geelongsustainability.org.au