Victoria’s new renewable energy storage targets could reduce energy bills

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says new renewable energy storage targets and investments in regional Victoria will help to reduce energy costs.

The Victorian government has announced renewable energy storage capacity targets and a $157 million package to boost renewable energy generation and storage.

The targets aim for 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy storage by 2030 and 6.3GW of storage by 2035.

Mr Andrews said the batteries would allow energy to be stored and then dispatched when needed.

“Having storage in the right places is incredibly important because that firms up the grid and it gives you options,” he said.

“And it means that you can store power and take pressure off that transmission network.”

a man wearing glasses and a suit.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says Victoria is the renewable capital of Australia.(ABC News)

Renewable energy zones

Victoria has six renewable energy zones: in Central North, Gippsland, Murray River, Ovens Murray, South Victoria, and Western Victoria.

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said using these zones would allow for more renewable energy and lower costs.

“We know that the more renewable energy that comes into our system, replacing the old technology, the lower our power prices will be,” she said.

Cleaner Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said the batteries would also help to stabilise the electricity grid.

“It can actually drive and support the grid, particularly in those moments that we’re seeing more of when the coal generators are tripping off and falling out of the grid at very short notice,” he said.

The state government is investing $119 million from the Renewable Energy Zone Fund in the Koorangie Energy Storage System, a 125MW big battery and grid forming inverter in the Murray Renewable Energy Zone.

The battery, located between Bendigo and Red Cliffs, will be built by Edify Energy and will be operational by March 2025.

More battery storage

Edify Energy head of energy markets Andrew Stiel said the Victorian government’s push for more battery storage was exciting.

“It’s making a real statement that the Victorian government and the Australian market generally is ready for the transition and the accelerated transition [to clean energy],” Mr Stiel said.

“Batteries such as the one that we’ll be developing are a really important part of that because it’s sort of allowing the technical case to close the thermal generators such as coal-fired power stations.”

The company was awarded the funding after a competitive tender process conducted by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Renewable hydrogen

The state government has also invested $11.9 million from Round 2 of the Energy Innovation Fund into Yarra Valley Water to make renewable hydrogen using recycled water.

The Aurora treatment plant will use recycled water from a sewage treatment plant and renewable energy from an organic-waste-to-energy plant to produce hydrogen.

Yarra Valley Water managing director Pat McCafferty said the facility would power about 2,300 homes.

“There’s not a lot of hydrogen being produced yet to power things in Australia, so it would be a great first step,” he said.

As part of Round 2 of the Energy Innovation Fund, a further $26.3 million is directed at a battery and inverter in Terang, a bioenergy facility and biomass boiler in Gippsland, and a waste-to-energy facility in Anakie.

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