Australia close to national battery standard following draft approval

Australia close to national battery standard following draft approval

Australia is close to implementing a national battery standard. This follows Standards Australia’s approval of a first draft of regulations covering energy storage in an announcement last week.

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) applauded the move as a big step forward for the growing energy storage industry.

However, some stakeholders are unhappy with the requirements. That’s because the ‘Electrical Installations – Safety of battery systems for use with power conversion equipment’ draft has new specifications for battery manufacturers.

National battery standard urgently needed: CEC

Acceptance of the standard follows years of consultation by the 42-member EL0042 Committee. This has involved a wide range of industry stakeholders and two rounds of public consultation.

The committee issued a statement last week that, despite some negative ballots, the committee had “reached consensus” in accordance with Standards Australia’s rules.

Standards Australia said “it is anticipated [the negative ballots] will not significantly delay publication”.

CEC calls for new set of national battery rules

The CEC now wants the national battery standard quickly converted into a set of rules that will have Australia wide adherence.

The new standard will provide a consistent set of rules for industry installers to follow. Industry bodies, technical professionals, government agencies and regulators will all then use the same benchmarks.

It will also end the practice of state regulators creating their own state-based regulations.

More work underway to resolve industry conflict

Yet the new rules won’t suit everyone. Product manufacturers have concerns about the standard’s new requirement for batteries to have cement sheet covers.

Regulatory bodies say the covers will improve safety for consumers and installers in Australia’s booming solar panel and battery storage industry.

However, the CEC wants to work with these bodies to address concerns in other ways.

Standard stronger than current battery industry code

Batteries could now be included in the next amendment of wiring rules AS/NZS 3000 following acceptance of the standard. This is vital for the industry, the CEC claims.

It says the current standard is out-of-date and provides poor protection. One reason is that it makes no mention of energy technology like lithium-ion batteries.

A new standard will provide much stronger consumer protection than the existing Battery Best Practice Guide. The industry developed these base-level guidelines for the sector.

Consumer and installer protection is critical as Australia’s solar battery industry grows and more households install home storage like Tesla Powerwall 2 and Enphase.

Article provided courtesy of Energy Matters Australia.