Home Battery Scheme

31 Mar 2021

Dr HARVEY (Newland) (14:41): My question is to the Minister for Energy and Mining. Can the minister inform the house how South Australia compares with other states in terms of home battery installations?

The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Minister for Energy and Mining) (14:41): Thank you to the member for Newland for that important question. Like all my colleagues on this side of the chamber, we work incredibly hard to provide South Australians with cheaper, more reliable and cleaner electricity, and our policies are in very stark contrast to what the previous government was delivering in the lead-up to the last election: the most expensive electricity in the world; nonstop blackouts, including one statewide blackout; and dirty diesel generators.

There are many planks to our energy policy, including interconnection, including grid-scale storage, including demand management, smart voluntary demand management, and home batteries are very central to our energy policy as well. Recently—in fact, last week—the organisation SunWiz reported the Australian Battery Market Report 2021, and it could not have spoken more favourably for South Australians. Of the 31,000 home batteries installed across the nation in the year the report was covering, 9,100 (29 per cent) of all the home batteries installed across the nation were installed in South Australia.

We are working very closely with suppliers, consumers and regulatory bodies to get the energy generation and consumption mix just right. For our government to have a home battery program and also, in partnership with Housing SA, our SA Virtual Power Plant, which also partners with Tesla, providing those sorts of results is absolutely extraordinary. We have gone from number one in the nation with regard to unacceptably high electricity prices and number one in the nation with regard to unacceptable frequency of blackouts under the previous government to, under the Marshall Liberal government, number one in the nation with regard to home battery installations.

With our $118 million Home Battery Scheme, the Virtual Power Plant I referred to before and with free batteries for bushfire victims—a very important program, through which we offered a free battery to anybody whose home was lost from the bushfires in early 2020 and who is going to rebuild; our government provides them with a free battery—we are doing everything we possibly can to get it right for South Australian electricity consumers, from the smallest households through to the largest employers in our state.

There were around 20,000 home batteries installed or committed in South Australia across the time span for this program. That is nearly 3 per cent of all South Australian homes. We are leading the world with regard to per capita home battery installations. Those 20,000 home batteries aggregate to in excess of 200 megawatts of combined storage, so comparable to the big batteries we are seeing around the place being announced, most notably AGL's announcement last week of a grid-scale battery.

It also compares to 3 to 4 per cent of summer peak demand for two hours. If we go to the dark old days under Labor, at times we just did not have enough electricity to meet the grid's needs. What we are doing now addresses that, but it does much more. Aggregating those batteries—so every individual household, all through to the total of those batteries combined—supports not only the consumers who have them but all other South Australian electricity consumers as well.