Standards Australia withdrew its draft standard on 18 August 2017 after receiving over 3000 public comments. It affirmed its status as a technical committee and stated that it cannot make public policy trade-offs between issues of safety, residential construction and renewable energy. These issues, it stated, must be resolved by the government before any further progress is made.
Opposition to the draft standard (which would require lithium-ion storage batteries to be placed in concrete bunkers separate from homes) has increased significantly since its release on 13 June 2017.
Battery suppliers have argued that the draft standard is too onerous and would harm the battery storage market. Further, Europe’s largest home battery supplier Sonnen has paused its plans to establish a battery manufacturing plant in NSW or South Australia for fear of the detrimental impact that the standard would have on the market. Sonnen argued that the draft standard was based on battery chemistries more volatile than those used by battery storage systems.
If the standard goes ahead, the cost of installing battery storage systems will increase exponentially, preventing consumers from realising the significant financial benefits that come with using solar and avoiding rising electricity prices.
The Australian Energy Market Commission (the body responsible for making the National Energy Rules and conducting reviews into the National Energy Market) stated that the draft standard put unnecessary weight on safety and would discourage the development of decentralised energy sources. The final report of the Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market (‘Finkel Review’) emphasised the importance of battery storage in ensuring that electricity reliability and security is maintained, particularly as Australia transitions to a renewable energy economy.
In our submission to Standards Australia, Kingfisher Law argued that the proposed standard was unfair to many households in Australia and should not be implemented.
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