How big batteries soak up the sun

CS Energy’s Acting Executive General Manager Future Energy, Emma Roberts, discusses how evolutions in solar energy innovation is supporting lower power prices for consumers and a more stable power grid throughout the country.

With an abundance of sunshine, it’s no surprise that Australia has been at the forefront of solar energy innovation. In fact, our rate of adoption of rooftop solar technology is among the world’s highest.

But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. In recent years, excess solar energy in the middle of the day has created challenges for the stability of Australia’s power grid.

Big batteries are seen as an enabling technology because they can store surplus solar energy for use at a later time. Batteries provide a ‘solar soak’ service to smooth out fluctuations in demand by charging during the day and discharging during the evening or when demand is high. This helps to lower power prices for consumers.

Battery energy storage systems work by using chemicals to absorb and release energy on demand. They are fast and flexible – the latest big batteries can turn off and on in fractions of a second.

Batteries’ ability to ramp up and down quickly also means they can provide important grid stabilisation services and reduce the need for new transmission infrastructure.

Battery technology is not new, but its commercial application at a large scale has taken off in Australia in recent years thanks to advances in technology and decreased production costs.

There are currently five grid-scale batteries operating in the National Electricity Market, with many more in the pipeline, including one at Wandoan in Queensland.

CS Energy is considering investing in big batteries to diversify our portfolio, help improve the stability of the power system and create better price outcomes for consumers.

Watch this space!


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