Storage ‘megashift’ could rival PV revolution: ARENA chief

It is predicted that more than a million Australian households will have battery storage by 2020. (Image: © petrmalinak / Shutterstock.)

The rise of battery storage technology is going to trigger a ‘megashift’ that could rival the PV revolution, said Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) CEO Ivor Frischknecht.

Writing in Fairfax papers including The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Frischknecht said Australian consumers are hungry for the technology, and forecast rapid uptake between now and 2020. “We stand on the cusp of an electricity industry revolution in this country, enabled by rapid advances in solar,” wrote Mr Frischknecht.

“It’s difficult to overstate just how quickly things are moving in the energy-storage space. Within months, every major solar installer will also offer a storage product.”

Citing a recent AECOM study, commissioned by ARENA, Mr Frischknecht said technological advances and continued price improvements will drive a battery boom in the next five years. The study predicts that by 2020, the cost of home batteries will drop 40-60 per cent.

“This aligns with forecasts by Morgan Stanley that, during the same period, more than a million Australian households could install home battery systems,” Mr Frischknecht said.

ARENA is currently supporting a trial of home battery technology in 33 Queensland homes in Toowoomba in the south of the state and Townsville and Cannonvale in the north. Run by energy provider Ergon Retail, the trial allows remote control and monitoring of the batteries to see how home storage can best be integrated with the grid.

Mr Frischknecht also warned of a need to convince consumers not to leave the grid, saying this would cost both them and those who stay connected more money.

“We have to get the message out to consumers that participating in the grid makes it stronger and, in turn, helps further promote the uptake of renewables,” he said.

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