Aussie Electricity Distributor to Launch Community-Based Battery Program to Support Grids

United Energy, an Australian electricity distributor will spearhead the country’s largest rollout of community-based battery program which will be able to store the electricity needed to support 3,000 homes as part of an $11 million investment in new energy technology

A view of the community-based battery system being implemented in Victoria, Australia. Credit: United Energy website

A view of the community-based battery system being implemented in Victoria, Australia. Credit: United Energy website

United Energy, an Australian electricity distributor will spearhead the country’s largest rollout of community-based batteries supporting highly targeted and localized needs later this year. The initiative will target United Energy’s network across Melbourne’s east, south east and the Mornington Peninsula. When complete, the fleet of batteries will be able to store the electricity needed to support 3,000 homes as part of an $11 million investment in new energy technology.

The United Energy ‘Electric Avenue’ program will install 40 unique 30kW batteries on power poles over the next 18 months, each with the capacity to service up to 75 homes. Unlike big battery projects which provide grid level stability and electricity market outcomes, these
smaller batteries are designed to help improve electricity reliability and enable greater solar PV exports in local areas where the low voltage distribution network is constrained.

United Energy General Manager Electricity Networks, Mark Clarke, said: “Electric Avenue pole-top batteries provide an opportunity for customers to share power in their community. A community battery is a way of storing energy that can then be used locally when it is needed. It is a great way of ensuring solar PV exports from homes in the community are consumed locally. From a network perspective, it also helps defer traditional investment so can save money for customers on future network tariffs.”

Initiatives like these enable customers to enjoy a range of benefits whether they have rooftop solar or not. In the process, they also provide everyone with access to renewable energy. Sharing battery power also helps electricity networks to deliver more reliable and renewable electricity to customers while supporting state and national emissions reduction targets.

United Energy has partnered with leading retailer Simply Energy to roll out the project, which will use the batteries as part of its Virtual Power Plant program. Simply Energy CEO, Shannon Hyde said: “The inclusion of community batteries to Simply Energy’s Virtual Power Plant program supports the grid helps keep energy prices down. The program shows the versatility of battery technology in supporting networks, creating opportunities to trade energy and delivering for solar and non-solar energy customers alike.”

The $11 million project includes $7 million from United Energy and $4 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). This large-scale pole-top battery rollout follows a successful two-battery trial last year in Melbourne’s Bayside area, the first of its kind in Australia. United Energy expects to install and commission the first three Electric Avenue batteries later this year.

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