Targeted reform of Australia’s outdated electricity market – rather than long-term public funding – is the key to unlocking the full benefits from energy storage technology as the country shifts to renewable energy, according to a policy paper released today by the industry’s peak body.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said energy storage technologies have a critical role to play in the development of an affordable, clean and secure energy system.

“There remains substantial work to do in modernising Australia’s energy rules and allowing energy storage to fully participate in the market, bringing the benefits of the technology to both the grid and consumers more broadly,” Mr Thornton said.

“Australia currently lacks a strategic package of energy market reforms that will help to turbo-charge energy storage and tear down the barriers that stand in the way to its wider use around the country.

“While there is a role for government funding at the moment to help with the cost reduction and establishment of the energy storage industry, strategic reform and regulation is the most efficient way to encourage more widespread use of the technology over the long term.”

The newly-released policy paper, Charging Forward: Policy and regulatory reforms to unlock the potential of energy storage in Australia, outlines a package of targeted reforms to support the increased roll out of energy storage projects at residential, commercial and grid scales.

“Energy storage is the last major puzzle piece of an evolved energy system. It can complement more variable sources of generation, like wind and solar power, while also providing services that bolster the resilience of the system. It also lightens the load during peak demand, reducing the need for expensive network investment and augmentation,” Mr Thornton said.

“Rising electricity costs, changing tariff structures and rapidly reducing technology costs have combined to create the ideal conditions for greater adoption of ‘behind the meter’ storage and solar technologies. These new products can make a contribution to the electricity market and reduce costs for all consumers.

“Energy storage costs – especially battery storage – are falling. There is huge potential for these technologies to change the way customers and retailers interact with the grid. However, a combination of market reform, incentives and regulatory change is needed to drive this transition, while ensuring a secure and affordable power system,” he said.

The policy paper recommends 13 reforms across four categories to achieve this, ranging from removing regulatory barriers and rewarding the value of storage behind the meter, to protecting consumers and changes that would allow storage to support grid security through its fast frequency response capability.

More information on the Clean Energy Council's energy storage initiatives can be found at www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/technologies/energy-storage.html

The policy paper Charging Forward: Policy and regulatory reforms to unlock the potential of energy storage in Australia can be downloaded from the Clean Energy Council website.

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.