On the 4th of April ARENA launched Round 1 of grant funding for community batteries. $60 million in grant funding is available for community batteries proposed by non-electricity network companies. Proponents need to include at least 5 batteries in their Expression of Interests due 30 June 2023. Komo Energy welcomes this funding announcement and is well positioned for this grant funding round with several of its community solar projects well suited.
ARENA are the Australian federal governments central grant making agency for the renewable energy sector. Prior to establishment in 2012, there were several state and federal bodies undertaking grant making in clean energy, ARENA have centralised this capability. ARENA makes investments to improve the competitiveness of new renewable energy technologies and business models. They aim to accelerate the transition of the grid to renewable energy whilst sharing knowledge from their investments.
The Community Battery grant is allocated $200 million in total. In Round 1, $120 million is available including $60 million for Network Service Providers (“NSPs” – companies who own our electricity grid poles and wires) like Ausgrid, Ausnet and Transgrid. $60 million is available for community batteries proposed by proponents that are not NSPs, including communities, solar and wind developers and community solar developers like Komo Energy.
Grant funding is available for up to 100% of the battery cost. Expressions Of Interest (EOIs) are to propose the level of funding required, and selection will be merits based dependent on the level of funding required, speed and scale of proposed batteries and other criteria. Funding is expected to be confirmed in early 2024.
The term “Community Battery” can be quite vexed with a variety of definitions used. They can include smaller batteries placed in local suburban nature strips, community owned batteries or other forms of battery storage. ARENA have taken a wide scope on the term Community Battery without mandating particular objectives, ownership models or operational strategies and allowing battery sizes from 50kW to 5,000 kW power capacity. Due to the early nature of Community Batteries, we support this wide scope and look forward to deployment led innovation benefits of seeing batteries financed and installed – leading to further learnings and refinements for potential future community batteries.
Komo Energy is currently providing development and seed funding services on the Grong Grong and Bunyip community solar farms which are well suited to the addition of battery storage. We are also in discussions with community energy groups and landholders at various stages of advancements for suited battery projects.
It is exciting to see battery storage becoming more prevalent at household, utility scale and now also at community scale level. The grant funding is well timed for Komo and has the potential to accelerate our work with community solar and storage and storage projects in Australian communities.