Why can’t we just put in a big battery?
Alice Springs is already home to a large-scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) owned by Territory Generation and installed at the Ron Goodin Power Station. The BESS was commissioned in 2018 and at the time was the largest battery, proportional to the grid it served, in Australia. The BESS is 5MW and cost about $8m. It is optimised for grid support services (such as inertia, as outlined elsewhere) and is not sufficient to support the grid in terms of energy storage. If optimised to provide energy storage rather than grid support the battery could service the energy needs of Alice Springs for no longer than 20 minutes. When you look at the cost of this large-scale battery and its capacity to support the grid, you can see it is not the silver bullet to supporting further renewable energy. However, it remains a vital piece of the puzzle. Future Grid envisions addressing the system issues with a systems solution, as opposed to deploying a single technical intervention.