South Australia's big battery is being expanded by 50 per cent to help the state's electricity network transition to more renewable power sources.
The project will receive $50 million from the federal government’s green bank, $8 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and $3 million from the SA government.
The Hornsdale Power Reserve – already the world’s biggest battery – was built by Tesla and is owned by Neoen Australia.
The expansion will increase the battery’s size from 100 megawatts to 150 megawatts.
Clean Energy Finance Corporation CEO Ian Learmonth says grid-scale batteries will be a critical part of the next wave of investment to help support the changing electricity network.
The Hornsdale Power Reserve has helped improve energy reliability in SA, reduce costs and integrate renewable sources into the grid.
“It is an exciting model that can be extended across the grid to strengthen reliability and maximise the benefits of renewable energy,” Mr Learmonth said on Tuesday.
“By delivering the first project financing of a stand-alone NEM-connected battery in the Australian market, our goal is to demonstrate the market potential of grid technologies for other investors and developers.”
Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor says making the battery bigger will help it respond quicker when there’s risk of blackouts.
Mr Taylor is meeting with his state and territory counterparts this Friday, where he will seek agreement on stronger energy reliability standards.
The minister has already put a reliability obligation on energy retailers, ensuring they guarantee supply for customers three years ahead of time.
Mr Taylor is particularly focused on Victoria’s Labor state government over its ban on onshore gas drilling, which is expected to be a contentious topic at Friday’s meeting.
Victoria wants the federal government to prioritise KerangLink, which would connect Melbourne with Snowy 2.0.
Meanwhile, Resources Minister Matt Canavan is in the United States to see how the two nations can support each other by supplying minerals.
The US has pinpointed 35 minerals critical to its economy, and Senator Canavan says Australian can supply 14 of them in a “very strong way”.
Geoscience Australia and the United States Geological Survey have on Tuesday inked an agreement to lock in a minerals partnership.