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  • Tamara Sheward

    TropicNow writer

    Email Tamara Sheward

    Cairns a leading light in energy research


    One of Australia’s biggest home battery trials has gotten underway in Cairns today, with Treasurer Curtis Pitt hailing it as “the start of something truly big”.

    Ergon Energy’s purpose-built Cairns laboratory will be testing the capabilities of a range of commercially-available home battery storage systems that could potentially prove a boon to locals… and their energy bills.

    Residential battery energy storage systems are new technology that will impact Ergon’s network and its customers, with Mr Pitt calling it a “win-win” for both parties.

    “This kind of technology could give customers flexibility to source their power needs more cost effectively, and has the potential to remove peak loads off the network and can increase the value of renewable energy if operated to suit the needs of both parties,” he said.

    “It’s also about trying to work with new technology developers to get systems that will benefit now and into the future.

    “These trials in Cairns will ensure Ergon has the knowledge to make these systems work for the benefit of all.”

    CAIRNS: AT THE FOREFRONT OF ENERGY TECHNOLOGY

    In opening the centre, Mr Pitt said the trial proved that world-leading tech research could be successfully pioneered in regional cities such as Cairns.

    “We are also attracting some of the industry’s brightest minds here to define how we will generate, store and use energy into the future,” he said.

    The testing will include different residential battery storage systems, solar PV charging via Ergon’s on-site PV arrays and analysis of how the battery systems interact with standard Ergon mains connections and typical customer consumption patterns.

    Energy Minister Mark Bailey said Ergon was trialling battery storage systems from companies including Sonnonbatteries, Magellan, LG Chem, Tesla, Selectronic, SMA, Enphase and Fronius.

    “The recent Queensland Home Energy Survey found high awareness of battery storage amongst consumers,” Mr Bailey said.

    “However, the high cost continues to be a barrier to uptake, with the majority of Queensland consumers unwilling to purchase until installation costs fall below $10,000.

    “And while costs are expected to fall, Ergon’s primary focus is the safety and operability of these systems – particularly when they are working in conjunction with the electricity network to power people’s homes or businesses.”

    Ergon Energy is currently working with Standards Australia and other industry bodies towards setting installation and connection standards for battery energy storage systems.