Australia's Victoria to invest $100 million in energy storage in push to cut emissions

High voltage electrical transmission lines are seen in Melbourne July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas (AUSTRALIA)

MELBOURNE, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Australia's Victoria state said on Tuesday it would invest A$157 million ($102 million) to boost battery energy storage, as it pushes to source half its electricity from wind and solar energy by 2030 and help replace coal-fired generation.

With the new investment, Victoria will have 2.6 gigawatts of renewable energy storage capacity by 2030 and set a target for 6.3 GW by 2035, which it said would be enough to power around half of the state's homes at their peak energy use.

"The significant jump in storage planned between 2030 and 2035 is the latest recognition that Victoria's remaining coal generators are unlikely to last much beyond 2030," said Kane Thornton, chief executive officer of the Clean Energy Council.

Battery energy storage is essential for preventing blackouts as coal-fired plants are retired, as it can absorb energy during the day when prices are cheap and release the energy when wind and solar power are not available, typically when prices are higher.

The A$157 million investment includes A$119 million for a 125 megawatt (MW) big battery, and A$38 million for four projects using new technology to generate and store clean energy, state Premier Daniel Andrews and Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said in a joint statement.

($1 = 1.5413 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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