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Submission to ARENA’s Community Batteries for Household Solar Survey


Energy Consumers Australia

With expectations of a five-fold increase in distributed solar PV generation, the latest Integrated System Plan (ISP) indicates that a pressing need in this next decade is for dispatchable storage to balance the daily and seasonal variations in renewable generation. Australian households and small businesses can contribute immensely to a least-cost decarbonised and decentralised future energy system.

Energy Consumers Australia welcomes the Community Batteries for Household Solar Program (the Program, hereinafter) as a key opportunity for the government to boost market development for large-scale deployment and trial different community battery business models to lower bills, cut emissions and reduce pressure on the electricity grid by increasing network hosting capacity. As per our survey, 57% of Australian households (n=2,376) have interest in shared batteries, and therefore, we also consider this Program to be an important conduit towards consumer empowerment, as community battery programs shall engage local community members in energy solutions that can benefit the whole energy system. This Program can offer a unique opportunity for certain communities to have a hands-on experience of Australia’s energy transition, and to help them make better-informed decisions about their energy consumption and behaviour at the individual and local level.

In response to ARENA’s survey, we structure this submission around four key suggestions:

1. The Program should prioritise community battery configurations, services and sizes that maximise consumer benefits.

2. The Program should address the information asymmetry issue to the deployment of community batteries.

3. The Program should stage application rounds and cater for proportionate in-kind contributions to mitigate risks and increase knowledge sharing.

4. The Program should require robust evidence of direct consumer benefits and community engagement.

These four suggestions aim to guide the design of the Program in ways that maximise consumer benefits, address key barriers to further deployment of distributed storage, mitigate potential risks, increase knowledge sharing and advancement, and ensure community engagement is at the heart of project applications. All of these can enable a least-cost system that meets consumer needs, values and expectations.

Read our full submission here

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