Australia, Policy, Renewables, Storage

ARENA unveils funding plan for national community battery rollout

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has announced a major funding initiative for national community battery rollout.

The agency has conditionally approved up to $143 million to support the deployment of approximately 370 community batteries under its Community Battery Funding Round 1.

This ambitious program, set to benefit all states and the Northern Territory, is expected to unlock $359 million in renewable energy infrastructure investment.

The initiative aims to address local network constraints, expand rooftop solar capacity, reduce emissions, and lower electricity costs for a wide range of consumers including households, hospitals, schools, and community facilities.

ARENA chief executive officer Darren Miller said ARENA is pleased to support the roll out of batteries through its transformative program which will have “a significant impact upon Australia’s energy and grid security”.

The funding, part of a larger $200 million Federal Budget allocation for the Community Batteries for Household Solar Budget Measure, will see ARENA deliver at least 342 batteries.

The agency received an overwhelming response to Round 1, with 140 eligible Expressions of Interest. Funding has been conditionally allocated to 21 applications from 20 applicants, split between Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs) and Non-DNSPs.

The approved batteries will have a combined storage capacity of up to 281MWh, enabling the storage and use of renewable electricity across Australian communities. ARENA will contribute up to $0.51 perWh in grant funding against an average cost of $1.28 per Wh.

Among the recipients are major energy providers such as Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Energex, and Western Power, as well as non-DNSP entities like the Department for Energy and Mining (SA), Enel X Australia, and Transport for NSW.

The geographical distribution of the batteries is widespread, with New South Wales leading with 95 batteries, followed by Queensland with 69, and Victoria with 37. Some applications cover multiple states, accounting for an additional 95 batteries.

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