Power Melbourne battery launch creates a CBD icon

July 5, 2024

City of Melbourne recently celebrated the launch of our Power Melbourne community battery in the CBD.

It is the first of three batteries being installed, with Docklands and Southbank to follow.

Power Melbourne’s innovative energy storage solution will accelerate the city’s transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, helping achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.

With around 83 per cent of City of Melbourne residents living in apartments and not able to install their own solar panels, the batteries will improve access to more affordable, renewable energy.

About the battery

The battery is in Russell Place and is about the size of four singe door fridges. It can store 354 kWh – that's equivalent to about 30 household battery systems. You can’t miss it, as the battery has been decorated by local artist Mysterious Al who created a design especially for the location.

Meet the battery artist

Mysterious Al is a contemporary artist known for putting on art exhibitions in unusual locations, including derelict warehouses, disused shopfronts and recently a fairground ghost train.

Al rose to fame in London in the early 2000s through the explosion of street art, developing a following for his wall paintings, alongside contemporaries like Banksy.

The artist moved to Melbourne in 2011, only planning to stay for a year. Two kids and more than a decade later and Al has made the city his permanent home.

“Melbourne is the best city in the world for artists,” Al said.

After being chosen to wrap an empty shopfront on Russell Street with his art during the pandemic, Mysterious Al was keen to throw his hat into the rigorous selection process for the battery designs.

The result is a piece of city art which encompasses both the urban and natural environment. His design imitates the cyclone fencing which the battery stands behind and incorporates flowers in standout colours.

And unlike the other street art Al did in Melbourne’s alleyways when he arrived all those years ago, this piece is here to stay.

To be not only supported but recognised for my art in this way is wicked. I feel an enormous sense of pride and value in this piece. I love this city and to be acknowledged and recognised is amazing,” Al said

How cool is it that Melbourne can’t just have a boring grey battery? I love that street art and contemporary art is a pillar of what makes up Melbourne.

Primarily a painter, Al is passionate about sharing his talents with others including local schools and other artists who he mentors. As the cost-of-living crisis increases, Al believes schemes run by local councils to fund artists are more important than ever.

Next steps for the batteries

Next time you’re in the city, take a stroll through Russell Place between Little Collins Street and Bourke Street and check out the battery in its new home.

Installation of the next Power Melbourne community batteries at Boyd Community Hub and Library at The Dock will be celebrated with community-focused launch activations in the coming months.