The Australian federal and New South Wales (NSW) state governments will invest a total of USD5.2bn in the development of new electricity transmission infrastructure to increase the use of renewable power, as reported by Yahoo on December 21. Of the USD5.2bn investment, USD3.1bn will be sourced from the federal government and USD2.1bn from the NSW government. The governments will use the capital to plug eight new renewable energy zones into the power grid across NSW. In the district, 3 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar projects are operating or under construction. The expanded grid will also connect to the federal government’s pumped-hydro project, Snowy 2.0, which was designed to provide backup electricity when wind and solar are unable to meet demand.
The Australian government pledged at the May election to spend AUD20bn (USD13.3bn) “rewiring” the country to support a new energy structure based on renewable power. As the second-largest coal exporter in the world, Australia meets 60% of its electricity demand with coal-fired power. Nevertheless, the government expects renewable energy to contribute 82% of the national power needs by 2030, from 29% in 2021. To match the rapid growth of intermittent renewables, Australia is speeding up the construction of power grids and battery storage infrastructure. In October, Shell’s [SHEL:US] Australian unit collaborated with renewable energy developer AMPYR Australia to build a 500-megawatt (MW) battery energy storage system (BESS) in Wellington, NSW. The project is expected to be the largest battery storage project in NSW.