ARENA Commits $95 Million for Community Batteries Across Australia

The (ARENA) has unveiled a significant initiative to bolster community-based energy solutions across the country. On Saturday, ARENA announced the conditional approval of up to AUD 143 million (USD 95m/EUR 89m) in for the deployment of up to 370 community batteries.

Following a robust response to its Community Funding Round 1, ARENA has allocated support to 21 applications, encompassing both Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs) and Non-DNSPs.

These batteries, with a combined capacity of up to 281 megawatt-hours (MWh), are poised to alleviate local network constraints, facilitate the expansion of capacity, and contribute to emission reductions and lower costs.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller expressed optimism about the impact of the initiative, stating, “We are encouraged to see this important asset class being demonstrated at such a scale and expect that this funding round will kick start the neighbourhood-scale storage sector.”

The funding allocation stems from Australia's October 2022 budget, which earmarked AUD 200 million for the deployment of 400 community batteries nationwide. ARENA was entrusted with AUD 171 million to oversee the deployment of at least 342 batteries, with the remainder allocated to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW).

Looking ahead, ARENA anticipates launching a second funding round in late 2024, with a budget of at least AUD 28 million. The specific locations for the newly approved projects are yet to be finalized, pending community consultation, planning approvals, and commercial agreements.

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