Alkimos Beach achieves first 6-star Green Star rating with solar storage trial


State Energy Minister Mike Nahan and Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt inside energy storage facility.  Picture: Martin Kennealey d452720
State Energy Minister Mike Nahan and Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt inside energy storage facility. Picture: Martin Kennealey d452720

TWO sea containers are the power hub for a residential battery storage trial that switched on in Alkimos today.

The groundbreaking trial aims to store solar power generated from homes and lower the Alkimos Beach estate’s demand for electricity from the grid.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has provided $3.3 million for the $6.7 million trial, which will run until 2020.

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht joined Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, WA Energy Minister Mike Nahan and Synergy chief executive Jason Waters to mark the occasion.

Mr Frischknecht congratulated Synergy, Lendlease and LandCorp on the timely Australian-first trial.

“A central 1.1 megawatt-hour of lithium ion battery storage has been installed in two shipping containers in the suburb,” he said.

“It will store power from more than 100 rooftop solar photovoltaic systems.

“Combining community-scale battery storage and rooftop solar presents a win-win for energy retailers, developers and consumers and can provide households with the benefits of storage without onsite installation and maintenance.

“Solar will work alongside battery storage to lower Alkimos Beach’s demand for electricity from the grid.

“This model has the potential to offer residents cheaper electricity bills and reduce grid connection costs for future new developments.”

Mr Frischknecht said the Alkimos trial was set to prove an innovative energy retailing model and the lessons learned would address gaps in existing knowledge, potentially paving the way for similar projects.

“There is also a need to better understand how solar and community-scale storage can operate within traditional networks,” he said.

“For example, right now there are no tariffs that allow community energy storage to discharge onto electricity networks.

“The trial provides an opportunity for follow-on projects, particularly if similar models are adopted at other residential developments.

“If the approach becomes standard practice for new residential developments, this will increase the supply and use of renewable energy in Australia.”

Mr Nahan said the trial could change energy infrastructure design in future urban developments.

“Energy storage is the next logical step in new technology and consumers are demanding solutions from the energy provider which package solar and storage,” he said.

Lands Minister Terry Redman said the development had received Australia’s first 6-star Green Star rating.

“This trial supports the vision for creating environmentally conscious and sustainable communities and demonstrates a successful collaboration between public and private organisations and the government’s commitment to deliver communities of the future,” he said.