New market rules for battery owners

Early adopters of storage technologies like Tesla Powerwalls could be financially rewarded for stabilising power in the grid under new rules announced by the Australian Energy Market Commission.

A draft plan by the AEMC is designed to integrate energy storage systems into the national electricity market and cut red tape so small batteries can earn extra income and large batteries can make it to market quicker and easier.

The AEMC has also made new markets to reward batteries for reacting at short notice to provide frequency control to avoid blackouts.

AEMC chair Anna Collyer said the changes recognise energy is now flowing two ways into the grid, transcending the old paradigm of a split commercial relationship between generators and consumers.

“The energy market is moving to a future that will be increasingly reliant on storage to firm up the expanding volume of renewable energy as well as address the growing need for critical system security services as the ageing fleet of thermal generators retire,” she said.

“Within two decades, installed storage is expected to increase by 800% − it will be central to energy flowing two ways.”

The AEMC wants to make home batteries a more attractive way to enhance solar investments.

The rate of rooftop solar take-up in Australia outpaces pretty much anywhere else in the world, with around 29% of households hosting a solar PV system.

Another 3.5-4GW of capacity is expected to be installed this year.

The rules come at the same time as the AEMC considers allowing networks to introduce export charges described by some opponents as a “solar tax”.

It has been proposed to limit the amount of distributed solar exported to the grid in the middle of the day at times when it is not needed.

The Clean Energy Council was broadly supportive of the battery storage rules, but was critical of parts of the plan that would see owners of battery storage assets still pay network charges.

“This will result in batteries paying twice – both to connect to the system to supply energy as well as to take energy from the system,” said CEC CEO Kane Thornton.

“This fails to recognise the significant benefits that batteries can provide, as both load and generation, which can help support the stability and security of the system.”


Barnaby wants to see ‘net zero’ on COP menu

It was only a few weeks ago that coal-enthuiast Barnaby Joyce returned to the leadership of the National Party and already he is causing headaches for the Morrison Government ahead of the climate dialogue in Glasgow later this year.

The heat is on PM Scott Morrison to convert the Government’s net zero by 2050 preference into a hard and fast target.

Barnaby has rolled out a curious pub menu metaphor to outline his perspective on the whole thing.

“Generally how restaurants work is you go in and you get a menu, and they’ve got what’s on the menu for lunch and what the price is,” he told David Speers on the ABC Insiders program over the weekend.

“Now that is how a competent decision is made, you work out what’s on the menu and what the price is.”

“It’s quite simple, do you want lunch, I’m quite happy to consider it if you tell me what’s on the menu and how much it costs.”

Being the second top brass in the government, Speers suggested, Barnaby could source the answer himself.

The interview, as Joyce himself noted, went in circles.