The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has witnessed a significant influx of funding requests in response to Round 1 of the Community Batteries Funding Programme, which was launched in April with an allocation of AUD 120 million (approximately USD 77.3 million or EUR 72.5 million).
During the expression of interest stage, ARENA received 140 eligible applications from across the country, with a combined grant request totaling AUD 1.3 billion. This remarkable response underscores the growing interest and enthusiasm for community battery projects in Australia.
ARENA has now shortlisted 31 projects, and these selected initiatives are invited to submit full applications by March 2024. Collectively, these projects are seeking AUD 231 million in grants, with a total project value of AUD 530 million.
The primary objective of these projects is to install and connect at least five community batteries to the distribution network. These batteries will have a capacity ranging from 50 kW to 5 MW, making them valuable assets for relieving pressure on the local electricity grid. They will store excess solar energy for later use, ultimately reducing household electricity costs.
Darren Miller, the CEO of ARENA, emphasized the potential benefits of these community battery projects, noting that they have the capacity to deliver cheaper and cleaner energy storage to communities. Furthermore, the knowledge and experience gained from these initial projects will be shared across Australia, expediting the adoption of local batteries and contributing to the nation's clean energy transition.