Queensland Neighbourhood Battery Rollout Kicking Off

Neighbourhood battery initiative - Queensland

Dozens of neighbourhood batteries will soon be appearing across Ipswich, soaking up surplus solar energy goodness from locally installed solar panels for use when it’s needed.

A $10 million initiative part of the Palaszczuk Government’s Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, the rollout will begin in the Ipswich suburbs of Goodna, Booval, and Redbank Plains; all of which have a large proportion of solar households.

“These neighbourhood batteries will store cheap excess energy generated by the equivalent of nearly 600 rooftop solar systems during the day,” said Queensland Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Minister Mick de Brenni. “Critically, they will deploy that cheap electricity during peak evening periods, lowering household energy bills.”

We keep hearing about community/neighbourhood batteries reducing household electricity bills, but it’s rarely mentioned how much by, when or how many will benefit.

But batteries large or small, community or otherwise, can all play a role in putting downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices during peak consumption periods, and improve energy reliability and quality. Neighbourhood/community batteries can also enable more solar to be installed within the local area.

Pixii And EcoJoule Batteries Chosen

The Queensland initiative will involve up to 30 EcoJoule Energy power pole-mounted batteries and 5 ground-mounted Pixii systems. In the photo above1, the EcoJoule battery is obscured, so here’s a better look:

EcoJoule Ecostore pole-mounted battery

According to EcoJoule, the pole- mounted EcoSTORE is a 30kVA/60kWh storage system with grid support features including voltage support, phase unbalance reduction and Virtual Power Plant (VPP) services. The EcoSTORE is manufactured in Queensland –  in Loganholme.

As for the Pixii system, we’ve mentioned Pixii in the past in connection with another neighbourhood battery initiative in Victoria. While Pixii is headquartered in Norway, the firm has an office in Australia and the Pixii units for the Queensland rollout are also being manufactured/assembled within the state, in Darra.

The Pixii and EcoJoule batteries will be installed, owned and maintained by Energex, while Origin will be playing with them in the wholesale energy market, apparently to “design solutions to share value with customers”.

“Because Queenslanders kept their energy assets in public hands, these neighbourhood batteries not only help our local communities, but they are owned by them,” said Member for Ipswich, Jennifer Howard.

The $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan has set a target of 70% renewable energy in the state by 2032 and 80% by 2035. The Palaszczuk Government says the knock-on effects of the plan will create 100,000 new jobs in energy generation, critical minerals mining, battery manufacturing and .. sigh .. green hydrogen2.

On a somewhat related note, the state is expected to hit a new record for electricity demand today due to heatwave conditions. The Australian Energy Market Operator has reportedly forecast a peak demand of 10,400MW. The previous maximum demand record was 10,085MW.

Minister de Brenni seemed pretty confident the state’s energy system will hold up – even with the coal-fired Callide power station still partially crippled.

Footnotes

  1. The photo was taken at Energex’s Raceview Depot, where the batteries have been put through their paces.
  2. There’s been so much hydrogen huffing happening in Australian and elsewhere – it’s going to look really bad if things don’t pan out.
About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. George Kaplan says

    Goodna, Booval, and Redbank Plains have a large proportion of solar households? Not according to SolarQuotes’ location data. Indeed Redbank Plains is barely above the Australian average – 810 watts per person in the area versus the average of 808 watts per person in Australia.

    So if it’s not solar driving the funding what is it? Well Ipswich is known for its high proportion of Labor voters, and it just so happens that the electorate next to Ipswich City is, wait for it, Inala i.e. that of Palaszczuk.

    So a $10 million initiative to improve solar reliability and increase neighbourhood batteries, or more pork barrelling from a secretive government that refuses to fund basics like road safety and maintenance or reliable electricity in non-Labor areas ? You make up your own mind, but I have very definite suspicions!!!

    • Dave Duncalf says

      i believe the batteries are connected to the grid so will help QLD has a whole. I would prefer the 900Kg unit on an above ground pole to be in other suburbs not mine, where power is currently being put underground.

      Not sure how much help, $10m for 600 system firming. There 5350 systems in postcode 4301, so only $90m to go!!

  2. George Kaplan says

    SCAMWATCH ALERT?

    There used to be, and probably still are, dodgy cowboy installers that’d go round offering cheap solar system installations. They may indeed have been cheaper than the average price of an average installation, but you saved money by getting no name poor quality panels and an installation of dubious quality.

    Are installers now moving to batteries? A letter in the mail is offering a $10,000 package including a LiFePO4 solar battery with platinum warranty, installation by a solar battery accredited installer, exclusive access to control software and a few other bits and pieces all for the low low price of $3,900 BUT only if you opt in shortly as the deal ends soon and they may sell out sooner.

    What’s the brand or size being offered? The letter doesn’t say – oh wait, there’s fine print hidden down the bottom saying the price is for an Alpha Storion SMILE B3 (whatever that is, and no size specified), BUT eligibility and suitability will be individually assessed, with the advertised price ONLY applying to standard metropolitan based installations. The website referenced in the letter however suggests it’s a 2.9kWh Hive battery.

    So tiny battery, unclear possibly no name brand, and you need to be assessed before getting confirmation they will honour the deal. Since most homes need significantly larger than a 2.9 kWh battery that probably means the price will go up up up, and that’s without considering other possible issues.

    So, likely a scam, merely a dodgy but legitimate deal, or am I being overly suspicious? (Yes I’m avoiding mentioned names, no I don’t have any interest in this offer).

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