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ARENA Boosts Community Battery Storage with AUD $143 Million Investment

ARENA allocates AUD 143M for 370 community batteries, boosting Australia's renewable energy storage and lowering costs
July 2, 2024

In a significant move towards enhancing renewable energy storage, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced conditional approval of up to AUD 143 million in funding for the installation of 370 community batteries across the nation. This initiative is set to revolutionize energy storage, providing up to 281 MWh of capacity to address local network constraints, increase rooftop solar capacity, reduce emissions, and lower electricity costs.

The funding follows an enthusiastic response to ARENA’s Community Battery Funding Round 1, which saw 21 applications from 20 applicants successfully securing support. The funding round was divided into two streams: Distribution Network Service Providers (DNSPs) and Non-DNSPs, ensuring a broad spectrum of community batteries that will positively impact various regions.

ARENA's investment strategy includes grants of up to AUD 0.51 per Wh, contributing significantly towards the average cost of AUD $1.28 per Wh. ARENA CEO Darren Miller emphasized the strategic importance of this funding, 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 neighborhood-scale storage sector."

The initiative aligns with Australia's October 2022 budget, which allocated AUD 200 million for the deployment of 400 community batteries. Out of this, AUD 171 million was designated to ARENA with the goal of delivering at least 342 batteries, while the remaining funds were directed to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment, and Water (DCCEEW).

ARENA has announced plans for a second funding round, expected to open in late 2024 with at least AUD 28 million available for further community battery projects. The selected projects from the first round are in the process of finalizing specific locations, which will involve community consultations, planning approvals, and commercial agreements.

This large-scale funding not only underscores ARENA’s commitment to renewable energy but also marks a pivotal step towards more sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions for communities across Australia. As these community batteries come online, they will play a crucial role in transforming the energy landscape, fostering greater adoption of renewable energy, and paving the way for a more resilient and environmentally friendly future.

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