Considering lithium-ion as the only viable energy storage technology in an A$550 million ($423 million) energy plan is “unwise”, say a scientific research group in Australia.
A better option for large-scale storage would be flow batteries Dr. Sam Behrens, the research manager at CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), was quoted as saying to ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
He added: “There’s no silver bullet for the South Australian situation unfortunately.”
It comes as the Premier of South Australia Jay Weatherill announced an energy plan that included building a grid-connected battery to provide 100MW of continued storage in the state.
South Australia’s government plans to establish the biggest renewable energy battery storage in the country with A$150 million ($115 million) of fund support, part of the A$550 million ($423 million) energy plan of the state.
The Renewable Technology Fund will provide A$75 million ($58 million) in grants and A$75 million ($58 million) in loans, “to eligible projects, to support private innovative companies and entrepreneurs”, said the government’s document.
Weatherill and Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia, have reportedly been in talks with Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla. Musk said he could build a 100MW lithium-ion battery storage farm within 100 days or deliver the system for free.
Tesla recently supplied 20MW of lithium-ion batteries for the Southern California Edison’s Mira Loma Substation in Ontario, which was completed in just 88 days.
However, a series of Twitter updates from Musk’s official account, about the plans have raised the ire of Australian ESS makers.
Ross Garnaut, chairman of Australian firm Zen Energy, told UK newspaper The Guardian that the Australian government should provide more opportunities to Australian companies.
Garnaut said that Zen Energy could also deliver 100MWh energy storage solution by the summer.
In the paper, the chief executive of the Energy Storage Council, John Grimes also confirmed that Tesla’s offer was achievable to other Australian companies, who would be more price-competitive.
Grimes said: “I’m not saying Tesla should be excluded, but don’t fast-track a discussion with an overseas company when you have capability right here, right now, in Australia.
“Let there be a transparent bid process. And let’s give Australian companies a fair go,” he suggested in the interview with The Guardian.