Homes in parts of Canberra's north will be powered by the country's largest commercially provided battery as soon as this month.
The battery, installed by Canberra-based company Elvin Group, will come online some time in May and will help to provide electricity to homes in Ginninderry and Holt.
It's estimated the five-megawatt battery would be able to provide electricity to 5400 homes for one hour and would be used to supply power to the grid in the event of a sudden surge in demand.
The $6 million project in west Belconnen is made up of multiple Tesla Megapack batteries.
Elvin managing director Sam Blackadder said work had been under way on developing the battery for more than a year.
"This has been in the pipeline for about 18 months, and it's been a long journey for this project," Mr Blackadder said.
"We started doing this before the ACT government started its reverse battery auction, and we've spent several months going through a lot of technical studies in conjunction with Evoenergy in making sure this is safe for the network."
The large batteries will be able to feed electricity into Evoenergy's 11 kilovolt network, should there be a need.
It will also be able to store excess energy, such as from homes powered by solar panels, for when it is needed.
"When we see the fluctuations in the grid with peaks, such as when there's a cold snap and lots of people are getting home from work and want to switch on their heaters, if that creates excess demand on the gird, the battery will be able to help out," Mr Blackadder said.
"The battery will go straight into the network, so customers won't see any difference, but will have the benefit of having more stable electricity."
Plans are already under way to have the battery itself powered by renewable energy.
Work has already begun on a second phase of the project that will establish a 500 kilowatt solar farm next door to the battery to help charge it during daylight hours.
Hydrogen fuel cells are also being proposed as part of a third stage to help power the battery.
Trials of the hydrogen technology will be undertaken towards the end of the year.
Mr Blackadder said discussions about the project had been ongoing with the ACT government.
"This will be showcasing a few different options of how renewable energy is suitable for urban dwellings and urban housing and how that can be effective," he said.
"Networks here are looking for non-network options that help avoid extended brownouts or blackouts and fluctuating voltage."
The launch of the battery into the grid in May comes as similar projects look to get off the ground in the capital.
French-based company Neoen have lodged two proposals for big battery storage units, one near the ACT-NSW border at Jerrabomberra, while the other one is proposed for west Belconnen.
The one slated for west Belconnen will have to go through environmental approval due to it being likely to impact endangered grassland.
Company GPG has also lodged a proposal for a battery near Jerrabomberra.
Both companies were successful bidders in a reverse auction undertaken by the ACT government in September 2020.
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