Community Batteries for Household Solar
We have successfully secured funding for three community batteries as part of the Australian Government's Communities Batteries for Household Solar Program.
Work is underway on the projects that will see community batteries installed in Leeton, Goulburn and Maloneys Beach by early 2025.
What are community batteries?
Community batteries are a new concept for the energy industry, and currently are broadly defined as a battery that is deployed for the benefit of the community. This could cover batteries that are funded by the local community or a battery that has been deployed in a neighbourhood by a distribution business, or supplies energy to a community centre. Under the ARENA funding guidelines, the community battery program must meet the following objectives:
- Place downward pressure on household bills
- Contribute toward lower emissions
- Net benefit to the network, regarding network constraints
- Store solar energy and the ability to support further installations
- Allow households without solar to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy.
ARENA has also stipulated parameters around the type of battery, the size of the battery and the minimum number of batteries that need to be deployed by a single application. Further information can be found in the documentation provided by ARENA.
What is Essential Energy doing?
Essential Energy’s vision is to empower communities to share and use energy for a better tomorrow, and we believe community batteries can support this vision. Essential Energy has successfully received grant funding from the Australian Government for a community battery in three locations – Leeton, Goulburn and Maloneys Beach. This project will be delivered by early 2025, and further information be made available shortly.
Developing your own Community Battery
You do not need to partner with Essential Energy for a community battery. If your organisation is interested in developing a Community Battery, we highly recommended that you engage an Accredited Service Provider (ASP) and engineering consultancy in the first instance to guide you through the process. You can find a list of ASPs available on the NSW Department of Climate and Energy Action’s website.
If you have any queries about connecting to the Essential Energy network, the easiest method is to select “Submit a new Connection Enquiry” via the Essential Connections portal. Essential Energy will review your enquiry and respond within 5 business days.
You and your ASP can also review the existing publicly available resources that provide information about our network and network area to assist you in your grant application. Please note, these resources were not specifically created for the purpose of this application process and should not be taken as a recommendation from Essential Energy regarding any network investment. This information was up to date when it was published, but details will change over time due to legislation, policy and changes on the network.
Distribution Annual Planning Report
Essential Energy publishes a Distribution Annual Planning Report (DAPR). This report helps distribution businesses identify possible future issues relating to the capacity of the network and helps planning to address these potential constraints. We publish this data to provide insight to interested external parties to help assess the nature and location of emerging constraints on the network which can help inform your community battery application. View the DAPR.
Estimated Network Capacity Map
Essential Energy has released a mapping tool that estimates network capacity on the network.
Please note that this map should not be relied on to make any commercial decisions as data supplied here provides an estimated capacity for each substation, and other considerations are made with regards to the capacity - distance from the substations, cable constraints and existing applications are not taken
into account. View the Estimated Network Capacity Map.
NationalMap is an online map-based tool provided by the Australian Government. This tool collates and provides easy access to location-based data from Australian government agencies. View the NationalMap.
Can I partner with Essential Energy on a funding application?
You do not have to formally partner with Essential Energy to apply for funding. Stream B of this grant is open to entities with a registered Australia Business Number (ABN) and meet the eligibility criteria of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program.
Essential Energy is currently assessing the grant funding guidelines. If you are interested in community batteries, please register by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What network tariff will be available to community batteries?
The network tariff assignment is based on the specific attribute of each connection request. We suggest that applicants review Essential Energy’s Tariff Structure Statement and Pricing Schedules that have been submitted to the Australian Energy Regulator. These documents outline tariff assignment criteria with current and indicative future pricing.
Essential Energy is currently proposing two tariff trials for battery energy storage systems connected to the low voltage (LV) and high voltage (HV) network. These tariffs are called LV Gridscale battery (BLTD4AO/BLTTBD1) and HV Gridscale battery (BHTD4AO/BHTTBD1). These tariffs have been included in the indicative pricing schedule in our regulatory proposal for FY2024-29, however, these tariffs are subject the outcome of the trial and regulatory approval. Essential Energy does not guarantee these tariff or associated pricing.
What network support payments are available to community batteries?
Essential Energy does not provide network support payments for community batteries. The proposed battery tariffs provide a rebate for any energy exported during network peak demand. Please refer to the Essential Energy’s Tariff Structure Statement available on the Australian Energy Regulator’s website for further detail on this tariff. Essential Energy does not guarantee these tariffs or associated pricing.
Where can I place a community battery on the network?
We strongly recommended that you enlist the support of electrical professional or Accredited Service Provider (ASP) to assist you in preparing your application. Essential Energy is not able to assist in site identification or specific details of individual applications for this funding program. Applicants should refer to the Resources above to access existing public information about our network and network area.