The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has refused to exempt battery storage projects from network charges, potentially limiting their operations. 

Australia’s energy storage industry had warned the AEMC that new storage projects could be seen as less viable if they were charged for drawing power. 

Tesla, Snowy Hydro and other big storage suppliers said the rule changes amount to a tax on their operations that will deter investors and slow the decarbonisation of the industry.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) argued that when battery and pumped hydro projects were charging or pumping, they should be exempted from network charges.

But the AEMC has issued a ruling that maintains the status quo, refusing AEMO’s request to provide an exemption.

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) says the decision will create uncertainty for investors, as storage facilities and consumers may have to pay twice for network charges.

“Batteries and pumped hydro will now be placed at a commercial disadvantage to coal and gas generators, who do not face network charges,” the CEC’s director of energy transformation, Christiaan Zuur, told reporters. 

“This undermines the efforts of state and territory governments to decarbonise the power system.”

More details are accessible here.