Australia is looking forward to a federal election in May of this year. So it is expected that politicians would be visiting local areas and making big promises. Recently, the Labor Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy (Chris Bowen) was in The Gap, along with the Queensland Member for Cooper (Jonty Bush) and federal candidate for Ryan (Peter Cossar). They were promising a community-accessible solar battery should Labor get elected at the federal level.
The Gap, so called because it is located 10 km northwest of Brisbane in the gap between the hills of the Taylor Range, is a quiet green and leafy suburb of about 20,000. Labor is promising 400 community batteries across Australia in their “Power to the People” program. This is a $200 million investment to cut power bills, cut emissions, and reduce pressure on the electricity grid. Households that can’t install solar — like apartment owners and renters — will be able draw the excess electricity stored in community batteries from those who do have solar on their rooftops. Labor writes:
What is a community battery?
A community energy storage or solar battery is typically the size of a 4WD vehicle, and provides around 500kWH of storage that can support up to 250 local households.
Solar households will feed into the battery during the day and draw from the stored energy at night.
Any excess electricity stored in a community battery above local community needs can be sold into the grid when it is needed most — in the early evenings — putting further downward pressure on electricity bills.
Lobby groups Climate Action 4061 and Zero Emissions Brisbane were invited along for the announcement. They are delighted politicians are making concrete promises in line with their vision.
“The aims of ZEBNE are to facilitate community led action for a safe climate future, through partnerships, advocacy and in a timeframe that reflects the urgency of the challenge,” the Zero Emissions Brisbane Facebook page states.
Climate Action 4061 adds: “We are a group of residents who live in The Gap. We are not affiliated with any political party or group but want Australia to just get on with climate action. We recognise that urgent action across government, industry, business and community is needed to reduce carbon emissions for a safe and healthy environment. Rapid advances to reduce emissions to net zero well before 2050 are essential.”
Vikki McLeod, a spokesperson for Zero Emissions Brisbane, adds: “Zero-Net Kurilpa and Zero Emissions Brisbane have not had any discussions with ALP about a (community solar battery) but we do intend to soon and with the view to bring forward this policy as it is essential in achieving 100% renewable energy. Zero Emissions Brisbane and Zero Emissions Noosa are in discussion with Energy Qld for the same outcome.”
We’ll be looking forward to more upcoming announcements about any new community solar battery projects and more accessible renewable energy storage options for all!