US investment giant BlackRock will invest $1 billion (US$701 million) in Australian battery projects after agreeing to acquire Melbourne-based Akaysha Energy.
Akaysha currently has nine projects across the country, the most advanced of which is the 300-megawatt Ulinda battery in Queensland’s Western Downs region.
Its largest project is the 1,600-megawatt Orana battery in Wellington, Midwest New South Wales, which can provide around eight hours of energy storage. The company also has another large-scale project in Palmerston, Tasmania.
There are currently 10 large batteries connected to Australia’s energy grid.
Charlie Reid, co-head of climate infrastructure at BlackRock Asia-Pacific, said there is a US$400 billion opportunity across the region.
“We see tremendous long-term growth potential in developing advanced battery storage assets in Australia and other Asia-Pacific markets for our clients, and we are working with Akaisha to develop a clean, We look forward to ensuring an orderly transition to a secure energy future,” said the statement.
Akaysha Managing Director Nick Carter said the Asia-Pacific region is at the “dawn of the energy transition.”
“Asia-Pacific is at the dawn of an energy transition from carbon-emitting fossil fuels to intermittent renewable sources, and the successful transition to a more sustainable energy future will depend on the use of large-scale battery storage. We believe it is at stake,” he said in a statement.
Pushing Australia down the net-zero path
BlackRock says the initiative will contribute to the Labor government’s goal of 82% of its energy grid being powered by renewable energy. Coal-fired power is currently the largest contributor to the energy grid, accounting for about 64%.
Since being elected, the Labor government has pushed for the country to adopt more ambitious climate change policies.
Just a few weeks ago, Congress successfully enacted new emissions reduction targets of 43% by 2030, up from the previous 26-28% target. The Labor Party needed the support of the left-wing Australian Greens to pass the Senate after a center-right coalition refused to endorse the bill.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen has also identified several potential sites for offshore wind turbines.