BlackRock announces investment in Australian mega battery project

The world’s largest fund manager, BlackRock, has announced one billion Australian dollars (about 700 million U.S. dollars) investment into a series of battery farms across Australia.

Announcing the project on Tuesday, BlackRock said the investment would fund nine battery-storage projects along Australia’s east coast through the acquisition of Melbourne-based battery developer Akaysha Energy.

Charlie Reid, BlackRock’s co-head of climate infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific, said the infrastructure would be vital to maintaining the stability of Australia’s energy grid during its transition to net zero.

“As renewable energy infrastructure continues to mature in Australia, investment is required in battery storage assets to ensure the resilience and reliability of the grid, especially with the continued earlier-than-expected retirement of coal-fired power stations,” said Reid.

Large-scale battery storage is crucial to realizing a renewable grid due to the intermittency of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

The battery infrastructure is expected to provide over 1 gigawatt of battery storage assets, which would prevent over 15 million tons of carbon emissions over the projects’ lifetimes.

The investment marks the U.S. company’s first foray into the Australian market. The company will be vying with French company Neoen, and Elon Musk’s Tesla, which both have already established battery farms in Australia.

Managing Director of Akaysha Energy Nick Carter said in a joint statement that the global capabilities of BlackRock would help fulfill its ambitions for climate infrastructure in Australia and beyond.

“We’re excited to fulfill our ambitions in accelerating the installation of utility-scale energy storage technologies that will mitigate the variability of renewable generation and deliver grid reliability and resilience to power system networks across Asia-Pacific,” he said.