Northern Territory battery could be the world’s second-largest battery

NT releases renewable energy roadmap

The Top End wants to build the world’s second-largest battery in its push for 50 per cent renewables by 2030. The news broke this week about the Northern Territory battery when the overnment released an expression of interest for a battery capable of delivering between 25 and 45 MW.

That would place it second in world-ranking, behind Tesla’s 100 MW lithium-ion battery in South Australia.

Government-owned Territory Generation is seeking designs for 25 MW, 35 MW and 45 MW power outputs. In addition, it wants the design to have battery storage capacity for 30 minutes.

Northern Territory battery welcomed by experts

Dr Ariel Liebman, from Monash University’s Energy Materials and Systems Institute, described the Northern Territory battery as a “significant piece of kit”.

Dr Liebman told ABC Radio the battery would help the NT reach its 50 per cent renewables target by 2030.

“Now that batteries are coming into their own, they’re cheaper than they used to be and they’re actually much faster-responding than thermal generators,” he said. “So it would add an additional tool to the toolkit of the power system operator.”

NT rooftop solar installs predicted to boom

Territory Generation anticipates the number of residences with rooftop solar PV systems will rise. It’s predicted an increase from one in ten homes in 2015-16 to almost one in three over eight years.

Northern Territory battery: Tesla's lithium-ion battery will help keep the lights on this summer.

Tesla’s lithium-ion battery in SA will help keep the lights on this summer.

In addition, it said a “growing number” of large-scale solar PV systems are connected to the Darwin-Katherine power network. Eight systems currently have a capacity of more than 100 MW.

In October last year, the NT revealed solar power systems as part of its multi-million dollar capital works program.

The NT Power and Water program includes a roll-out of 10 MW of solar power systems across 29 remote Indigenous communities. The cost of this new solar power generation is  estimated at $55 million.

Power and Water’s David Coucill said the works program will ensure delivery of water and electricity services for all Territorians.

Roadmap to Renewables: NT’s energy future

Then in November the government released its Roadmap to Renewables report. Its stated goal: 50 per cent energy from renewables by 2030.

At the same time, Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced a $4.5 million energy efficiency package for households. The scheme provides co-contribution grants of $1,000 for the installation of solar panels, batteries, smart meters and solar hot water.

To boost the uptake of rooftop solar power, the report recommended altering feed-in tariffs to a “time of day” structure.

This allows consumers to reduce their energy costs during the most expensive times of the day. It also encourages greater adoption of solar storage, the report stated.

With this week’s mega-battery announcement, the NT is a step closer to becoming a national showcase for solar energy and storage.