Leaps in technology and rapid declines in cost have led to a steady growth in the use of batteries in the Australian electricity grid.
Battery systems of different designs and sizes are also used in homes, in businesses, in large industrial settings, and in more regional or remote areas to support secure supply. With the emergence of electric vehicles, jobs in batteries are only going to grow. These upward trends more than offset the diminishing demand for trade and technician roles in the installation and operation phases due to the technology behind large batteries moving more towards plug-and-play.
The small-scale battery workforce is largely covered in the discussion on careers in small-scale solar.
Careers in batteries are diverse, interesting, and future facing.
Utility-scale battery storage in Australia is a new and still niche technology that therefore relies on a highly skilled and experienced workforce. The workforce that supports the battery sector in Australia consists predominantly of engineers, many in the mid to senior career level (5 to 10 years of experience). However, there is easy mobility between clean energy power generation roles and storage roles.
In the design and planning phase, design engineers are needed, as well as legal professionals, finance experts, commercial managers and stakeholder liaison officers.
For the construction and then operation and maintenance (O&M) of a large-scale system, there is high demand for electricians, high-voltage operators, installation operations specialists, and field service technicians. All of these have vocational education and training pathways, mostly in an electrical field. Degreed roles in the construction or O&M phases include deployment managers, EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) managers, and product or technical support engineers.
Some employers in the Australian battery industry will allow certain roles (such as design specialists or O&M managers) to be filled by either trade or university qualified individuals. The skills and experience of the individual are more important than their qualifications.
Unlike wind or solar projects that are always in remote or regional areas that are hot or windy, batteries can be installed in many locations across the country. The most relevant industries in terms of transferable skills are the energy supply industry generally, heavy industry, construction and IT.