German battery maker sonnen is set to join the ranks of those looking toward the future with the production of storage batteries in Australia. The company recently announced plans to create 10,000 of these batteries each year at an old car factory in Holden, Adelaide.
This news offers an additional boost for South Australia as it tries to embrace a technological future and diversify its scope for growing the economy. Storage batteries should be coming under huge demand in the next couple of decades.
With Tesla already rolling in to help the region, it is clear that many are confident about the potential for investors and energy providers alike. Australia’s often-sparse landscape means that these batteries will have a lot to offer the country.
They have the potential to store energy in a way that allows for more effective grid management and less energy waste. This is also beneficial on a state-by-state basis, as places producing a lot of energy can store what they need and ship the rest out rather than having all of it fed back into the wider grid and then brought back out to meet current energy needs.
Part of the reason why many companies are coming to Australia is because of the state government’s intent on welcoming as many as it can with an attractive subsidy scheme, hoping to make progress before other countries do.
In fact, sonnen is just one of three battery storage companies from overseas to recently confirm that it will be operating in South Australia. State government heads attended the official opening earlier this week.
The move, which has created 50 full-time jobs, has also made use of a previously abandoned space. This adds credence to the idea that new industries must find ways of making the most of what worked for companies that no longer use a certain space. Those that can do so are likely to receive preference.
Christoph Ostermann, sonnen’s CEO, said that he wants to hail ‘a new era for clean energy manufacturing in South Australia’ as the company sends the first set of storage batteries off the production line.
He also spoke of ‘expansion and investment in South Australia with the hiring of a highly skilled operations team right here in Adelaide.’ Ostermann added that this would ‘serve as a foundation for sonnen’s growth and expansion in the future.’
With growing demand from Australians as well as overseas, the company also expect to start exporting to the Asia-Pacific region before long.
Much of the funding for this operation comes from the $100m Home Battery Scheme for South Australia, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has also contributed the same amount. The state government will offer rebates so that 40,000 households can get one of these batteries, and CEFC is providing loans at low interest rates to help lower-income households take part in the scheme as well.
The project has been set up to offer benefits for companies that make the batteries in Australia, even if they come from overseas. Two developers, Alpha-ESS of China and Eguana Technologies of Canada, will be announcing their own investments in the near future as interest heats up.