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Five locations in regional Queensland have been earmarked to host a large-scale, network-connected battery trial aimed at supporting the state’s continual uptake of renewable energy.

Batteries in Townsville, Yeppoon, Toowoomba Hervey Bay, and Bundaberg will collectively store up to 40MWh.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queenslanders were putting solar on homes at world record rates, with nearly 1 in 3 customers in detached houses now having solar PV on the roof.

“Because Queensland has one of the highest levels of rooftop solar uptake in the world, we want to make sure we’re using this important source of renewable energy in the right way and our network is keeping up with demand,” she said.

“That’s why Energy Queensland will commence a battery storage trial across five locations in Queensland to support the continued uptake of renewables across the state.”

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said batteries placed on the electricity networks throughout the state would assist in gaining the maximum advantage from Queensland’s abundant rooftop solar systems.

“This will mean using this huge source of renewable energy in a smarter way,” he said.

“In the medium term, this technology means we can ‘bank’ the excess renewable energy generated allowing a continued growth in rooftop solar on the way to achieving Queensland’s renewable energy target.

“In addition, these network battery projects will provide economic benefits right across Queensland and will contribute to the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

“This storage will deliver benefits across both the transmission and distribution networks and will also offer increased opportunities for local manufacturing and civil works for local businesses.

“For example, some of the components, such as the switchgear, could be made locally and there will be opportunities for Queensland-based training and development.”

Mr de Brenni said Energy Queensland already had a proven delivery model for network-connected batteries, having installed a 4MW/8MWh Tesla battery at Bohle Plains in Townsville.

“Energy Queensland-owned sites have been identified for this trial where deployment can occur as quickly and efficiently as possible, and where we are seeing the highest penetration of solar on the network,” he said.

“If successful, Energy Queensland could deploy distribution batteries in locations right across the state.

“Right now, renewables make up approximately 20 per cent of Queensland’s energy mix, and that figure will more than double over the next decade as we aim for 50 per cent by 2030.

“An affordable, reliable energy supply underpins our economic plan for post-COVID recovery, and renewables will play a central role in that.”

The batteries will be installed at Black River Substation – Townsville, Tanby Substation – Yeppoon, Bargara Substation – Bundaberg, Torquay Substation – Hervey Bay, and Torrington Substation – Toowoomba.

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