Queensland funds another 12 “solar soaker” batteries, plus two locally made flow batteries




Energy Queensland will get to work installing another 12 network connected batteries across the state – including two flow batteries made by local manufacturers – after another $179 million of state funding was tipped into the solar-soaking program.

The funding, announced on Wednesday and drawn from the state governement’s Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund, kicks off stages three and four of the battery roll-out, that will take Energy Queensland’s battery fleet to a total of 29.

As in other parts of Australia, the network connected “community-scale” batteries are installed in areas with high rooftop solar penetration and used to soak up excess generation and then support the energy network during times of peak demand.

In Energy Queensland’s case, each battery has the same capacity as the electricity required to support an average home for more than a year.

“This battery program is fundamental to our success in achieving 70 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and Net Zero Emissions by 2050,” said Queensland premier Steven Miles on Wednesday.

“We have the highest rate of rooftop solar anywhere in Australia so it’s only night that we equip our energy network to keep pace with the high rates of solar generation.”

Stage one of the program delivered five network-connected batteries at Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba, Townsville and Yeppoon. Stage two, currently underway, will install 12 batteries in Cairns (two sites), Townsville, Mackay, Emerald, Mundubbera, Gladstone, Howard, Toowoomba, Raby Bay, Morayfield and Bribie Island.

With the new funds locked in, stage three will deliver 12 4MW/8MWh batteries at regional network locations that are yet to be confirmed.

Energy Queensland says sites under consideration include Mooloolaba, Runaway Bay, Cornubia; Imboomba, Woodridge, Yatala, Barcaldine, Dalby Central, Glenella, Toowoomba, Milchester and Maryborough.

Energy Queensland chief engineer Peter Price says stage three of the project will build off the lessons learned over the course of stages one and two, to ensure efficiencies and benefits are continually added into the program.

Stage four, meanwhile, includes the trial of the two locally made flow batteries, which the government-owned utility says are currently being considered for Burrum Heads and Ipswich.

“Stage four of the plan will be particularly exciting as it will investigate the suitability of two batteries as an alternative to lithium batteries, with the added bonus of potentially kickstarting a local battery industry,” says Price.

“By basing the batteries in communities where there are large volumes of roof top solar means renewable energy will be generated locally, stored locally, and then used locally, reducing the pressure on the network.”

Exactly which Queensland manufacturers will provide the flow batteries was not detailed in this media release – RenewEconomy is awaiting a response to a request for more details. Brisbane-based Redflow seems like one obvious contender, particularly in light of the MOU signed with Ergon and Energex in early 2023[1].

Energy Queensland says the installation of the two flow batteries will help develop a local battery industry, and provide a “proving ground” for flow battery inclusion in future battery programs.

“Flow battery development is an opportunity for Queensland battery manufacturers – supporting good jobs, training and supply chains right around the state,” said Miles this week.

“Our state has renewable energy capabilities the world is looking for and my government has the plans in place to capitalise on the opportunities that brings.”

Queensland energy minister Mick de Brenni said investing in batteries would help build the state’s clean energy supply chain, creating business opportunities and jobs, while also soaking up the solar so many Queensland households have installed.

“These batteries will take the heat out of the peak demand periods, and that puts downward pressure on electricity prices, benefiting households and businesses,” de Brenni said.

“With these battery projects we’re aiming for a win-win-win scenario that achieves the energy trifecta for communities throughout the state – affordability, security and sustainability,” added Price.





  1. ^ MOU signed with Ergon and Energex in early 2023 (reneweconomy.com.au)

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