CSIRO roadmap charts major role for storage through energy transition

Storage of renewable energy will be essential to Australia’s net zero transition but will require significant investment, according to the latest roadmap released today by Australia's national science agency, CSIRO.

Battery storage

The Renewable Energy Storage Roadmap shows that storage capacity must grow significantly over coming decades to keep pace with rapidly rising electricity demand, which is projected to increase as building and transport industries electrify.

The report indicates that the national electricity market (NEM) could require a 10 to 14-fold increase in its electricity storage capacity between 2025-2050.

It also found that while traditional storage technologies (such as batteries and pumped hydro) will continue to play a key role, all forms of energy storage must be considered to meet Australia’s growing demand across multiple sectors.

In response to common challenges around decarbonisation and technology readiness, the roadmap examines the role of storage for seven sectors, highlights specific challenges and technology options, and finds that individual sectors favour different storage technologies.

Chief Executive Larry Marshall noted new technologies would be needed to increase penetration of renewables and stabilise the grid while we start to build utility scale storage capacity.

“Over the long-term storage will accelerate the integration of renewables, enhancing grid stability and reliability, and supporting decarbonisation of industries,” Dr Marshall said.

“There is no silver bullet for reaching net zero so we need multiple shots on goal, like from renewables, batteries, hydrogen, thermal storage, pumped hydro, sustainable aviation fuels and a host of new science-driven technologies.

The roadmap builds on prior publications and scenarios to estimate storage demand across multiple use cases and Australian jurisdictions. It also extends the discussion to new technology areas (for example hydrogen and thermal energy storage), pointing out sector-specific requirements, technology summaries and recommendations for scale-up.

To inform the role of energy storage, report authors brought together government and industry stakeholders, alongside CSIRO modelling and analysis.

This report is a valuable distillation of the challenges with energy storage and is released ahead of the launch of our Renewable Energy Powerhouse Mission and the Revolutionary Energy Storage Systems Future Science Platform. It is an important catalyst for discussions and actions in pursuing a robust, sustainable renewable energy economy, built on Australia’s critical minerals endowment.

Download the Renewable Energy Storage Roadmap.

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