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.
The Roadmap to 2030 has considered where new battery energy storage systems could be placed and their functions. It is likely that at least three systems would be needed, at strategic locations around town to support the grid.