Making The Most Of Queensland’s Battery Boom

Battery industry opportunities for Queensland

Stakeholders have the opportunity to help shape Queensland’s future battery industry after a discussion paper was released yesterday by Acting Premier Steven Miles.

Large-scale, community and home batteries play a significant part in the Palaszczuk Government’s Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan. Among the elements of the $62 billion plan is $500 million earmarked for investment in more large-scale and community batteries.

How to maximise local content of these and other batteries rolled out in Queensland is a focus of the paper.

“The Government is launching a discussion paper to assess how Queensland can become a leader in this space and build a dynamic battery value chain leveraging our existing strengths,” said Mr. Miles.

The announcement was made in Maryborough, which is to host what will be Australia’s first large-scale iron flow battery manufacturing facility. At this point, Energy Storage Industries – Asia Pacific’s (ESI’s)  $70 million facility is to be completed by late next year. In December last year, ESI supplied1 a big iron flow battery to Queensland’s National Battery Testing Centre (NBTC) for testing.

ESI Managing Director Stuart Parry is understandably very optimistic about the potential for battery manufacturing in Queensland, and the release of the paper.

“We look forward to working with the Palaszczuk Government to deliver on the promise of our leading-edge technology, which is critical to supplying Queensland’s long-term low-carbon energy needs and creating jobs in this exciting new industry.”

Likewise, Assistant Minister for Regional Roads and Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders is also enthusiastic about what a battery-powered future could hold for Queensland.

“Investing in new battery storage means that more Queenslanders will benefit from the abundant solar energy in the system and there will be more opportunities for local manufacturing,” he said.

What About Home Solar Batteries?

All the talk of big batteries is encouraging. And while not mentioned in the announcement, there’s another significant market that isn’t ignored in the discussion paper.

The Palaszczuk Government appears pretty focused on large-scale and community batteries at the moment, but there have also been hints of support for behind-the-meter energy storage – including home solar batteries. The paper points out Queensland’s home solar power systems are being increasingly paired with storage.

It pegs the potential Queensland market for behind-the-meter storage to 2030 at 7 GWh and Australia-wide at 18 GWh. Some might say those figures are conservative (or perhaps too ambitious). But assuming they are on the money, Queensland could account for around 39% market share and that’s a big opportunity. The paper also indicates Queensland has fewer barriers to meeting behind-the-meter demand compared to cracking the EV battery storage market.

The discussion paper will be open for industry feedback until 31 March 2023. The feedback will help inform the ongoing development of the Queensland Battery Industry Strategy, which is expected to be released around the middle of this year.

“Queensland is in a prime position to capitalise on this opportunity – and we want to hear from industry experts on how we can work together to make it happen,” said Mr. Miles.

Footnotes

  1. The battery being tested was manufactured by ESS, Inc. in the USA.
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.

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