Due to their unique size and position in the grid, community-scale batteries have the potential to play an integral role in Australia’s transition to a decentralised grid. Our social research revealed that there is enthusiasm for storage of this scale, both from householders and energy sector professionals. In a cost-benefit analysis, we found that community-scale storage is economically feasible, and can provide more effective local energy management in distribution networks, compared to the equivalent capacity of household batteries. In Western Australia, where regulations allow state-owned utilities to own and operate community-scale batteries, several trial community battery projects have already proven successful.
This report outlines the regulatory, technical and logistical considerations needed for the practical deployment and operation of community-scale batteries in the national electricity market (NEM). The report was largely informed by interviews and focus groups carried out with energy industry professionals from a range of sectors including networks, regulators, community energy groups and a retailer. The report also explores the main barriers associated with implementation – both real and perceived.