Energy storage project opens new horizons for remote microgrid

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9 June 2017

As power companies confront the challenge of shifting to more sustainable energy sources while also achieving reliable and cost-effective supplies, GHD has helped Horizon Power trial emerging energy storage technology in a microgrid.

GHD has provided engineering procurement and construction management services for the integration of a 2 MW / 2 MWh battery at the 18 MW Mungullah gas-fired power station in Carnarvon, Western Australia. By enabling one generator to be switched off, rather than running as spinning reserve in the event of faults or demand spikes, the battery will enable fuel and cost savings. The project may also allow for more renewable energy to be integrated into the local microgrid.

Servicing regional towns and communities spread across 2.3 million square kilometres, Horizon Power operates Australia's largest portfolio of remote microgrids, or isolated power systems. The battery storage project is part of the company’s focus on incorporating new technologies to achieve much higher levels of renewable energy over time and deliver more choice for end customers.

“As our engineering and project management partner, GHD, has been a key factor in the success of this cutting edge project. More broadly GHD is supporting our aim to embrace new technology, drive the increased uptake of distributed energy and improve Horizon Power’s capability with microgrid technology,” said Frank Tudor, Horizon Power Managing Director.

Brett Whisson, Horizon Power’s Project Director said the trial also aims to investigate whether battery storage could support the installation of more distributed renewable energy in the region, which already has one of the highest penetration levels of all of Horizon’s micro grids, with 121 Photovoltaic (PV) installations totalling 1.3 MW in capacity.

“We are proud to help energy companies adapt to a complex future shaped by disruptive forces. This project showcases the capability of batteries to provide crucial spinning reserve functions in a microgrid. We are eager to explore the other modes of operation such as ‘peak lopping’ to reinforce the power station in periods of highest demand,” said Paul Buch, GHD’s Power Manager in WA.

GHD provided a variety of services for this project, from specifying the requirements and evaluating different battery options to designing and implementing the systems that integrate the batteries into the micro grid.

The battery – provided by Chinese company, Tianjin Lishen Battery – has been tested off site and on site under GHD supervision. “The project team was impressed with capability of the battery especially the response times which exceeded expectations during critical commissioning tests. We also maintained a strong safety culture while meeting the project schedule,” says Ben MacDougall, GHD’s Project Manager.

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