A new $8.3 million 5MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) has launched in Alice Springs to support cheaper and cleaner power for those in the Northern Territory.
This is an important step forward in achieving the Territory Government’s target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
The government-owned battery will provide reliable, secure, and cost-effective electricity supply for Territorians and for business. It is also one of the largest grid-connected storage solutions in Australia.
During high solar penetration periods such as in the middle of the day, solar can currently supply up to 40 per cent of the Alice Springs power needs. It is projected that BESS will support an increase of this supply up to 50 per cent.
Other features of the new 5MW battery include:
- A near-instant response to variations in solar load, particularly during cloud cover, and improved power generation reliability for the region
- A 5MW capacity, combined with 40 minutes of storage capability, and capability of flexing to 8MW for six seconds and 7.5MW for 60 seconds
It is projected that the $8.3 million investment for the battery system will be recouped in four to five years due to efficiency improvements.
The battery system has already provided power into the grid through its rigorous testing and by the end of November 2018 it will be fully integrated into the Alice Springs power system.
Since the release of the Roadmap to Renewables report some of the Territory Government’s other key investments include:
- $40 million private sector investment in the Katherine Solar Farm project that will be the largest renewable energy generator in the Northern Territory. This solar project will increase renewable energy use in the Territory and provide enough power for 8000 homes
- $59 million joint investment with ARENA for the Solar SETuP program providing 10MW of solar across 25 remote communities. This program is nearing completion. It will also reduce diesel use and take trucks off the roads
- $4.5 million for co-contribution grants of up to $1000 for households to undertake energy efficiency measures such as installation of solar-photovoltaic (PV) systems, batteries, solar pool pumps, smart meters, efficient lighting, solar hot water, energy efficient appliances and efficiency audits
- $750,000 to Power and Water to develop and validate a dynamic system model which will ensure that increasing levels of renewable energy can be integrated into the grid in a stable and predictable way
Lauren Butler is the assistant editor for Utility Magazine. She’s based in Melbourne, Australia.