Can you make money from commercial batteries in Australia?

Can you make money from commercial batteries in Australia?

August 2023
 min reading

Commercial Batteries open up a range of new opportunities to generate revenue within the Australian Energy market.

The simple answer is yes, there is money to be made from providing battery ancillary services in Australia.

The Australian energy market is undergoing a significant transition as renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, are being increasingly integrated into the power grid. This transition presents opportunities for battery energy storage systems (BESS) to provide valuable ancillary services to the grid.

In Australia, the National Electricity Market (NEM) and the Western Australian Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) both have provisions for battery energy storage systems to participate in the provision of Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) and other network services. These services help maintain the stability, reliability, and security of the grid.

Battery energy storage systems can generate revenue by participating in various ancillary service markets, such as:

  1. Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS): BESS can participate in the regulation and contingency services markets, helping to maintain the grid frequency within a specified range. By providing rapid response to fluctuations in frequency, BESS can earn revenue through FCAS payments.
  2. Energy Arbitrage: Batteries can buy electricity from the grid when prices are low (typically during periods of excess generation or low demand) and sell it back when prices are high (during peak demand periods). This process, called energy arbitrage, allows battery operators to profit from the difference in energy prices.
  3. Network Support Services: BESS can provide services such as voltage control, reactive power support, and black start capability to help maintain the stability and reliability of the grid. In some cases, network service providers may offer contracts or payments for these services.
  4. Demand Response: Some large electricity users, such as industrial and commercial customers, can participate in demand response programs, where they agree to reduce their energy consumption during peak demand periods. BESS can help these customers manage their energy use more effectively, allowing them to earn revenue through demand response payments.

The potential for earning revenue from battery ancillary services in Australia will depend on factors such as market regulations, battery system size and characteristics, and the specific services being provided.

As the energy market continues to evolve and renewable energy penetration increases, the demand for battery ancillary services is expected to grow, presenting further opportunities for revenue generation.