Bat­tery to smooth power use

North West Telegraph - - Front Page - Robert Dougherty

It just shows what a pow­er­ful mar­ket lithium is go­ing to be. Alan­nah MacTier­nan

The fu­ture of WA’s lithium in­dus­try has gained new mo­men­tum with the State’s largest lithium-ion bat­tery switched on at New­man Power Sta­tion.

The 30MW au­to­mated bat­tery was un­veiled by Alinta En­ergy dur­ing a visit by Mem­ber for Pil­bara Kevin Michel and Min­is­ter for Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Alan­nah MacTier­nan on Fri­day.

The project, de­signed to sup­ply con­sis­tent power to iron ore min­ing op­er­a­tions, is the largest in Aus­tralia to be de­vel­oped for an in­dus­trial ap­pli­ca­tion, and can power 50,000 homes for 20 min­utes by it­self, if needed.

It can au­to­mat­i­cally sense power load changes and re­act in less than 60 mil­lisec­onds.

Ms MacTier­nan said driv­ing the cost of en­ergy down in the Pil­bara was hugely im­por­tant and the lithium-ion based tech­nol­ogy was be­ing con­sid­ered else­where.

“It’s the next stage in so­phis­ti­ca­tion of power sup­ply, it re­duces reliance on diesel as a back-up and al­lows for a lot more con­stant en­ergy flow,” she said.

“It’s all about mak­ing the pro­duc­tion of en­ergy for the min­ing sec­tor more ef­fi­cient — it’s part of the on­go­ing process of driv­ing en­ergy costs down.

“It just shows what a pow­er­ful mar­ket lithium is go­ing to be.

“This project shows ion bat­ter­ies can en­hance the pro­duc­tiv­ity of our gas plants.

“I’ve seen that this ac­tu­ally can aug­ment the ef­fi­ciency of gas power sta­tions — it shows the mar­ket is grow­ing, and we should be con­sid­er­ing not just dig­ging up the lithium but also tak­ing it to the three stages of it get­ting to bat­tery.”

Alinta En­ergy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Dimery said the bat­tery tech­nol­ogy rep­re­sented a $40 mil­lion in­vest­ment over a 12-month project, in­clud­ing sourc­ing parts from South Korea, New Zealand and Ger­many.

“For the iron ore in­dus­try in the Pil­bara, gen­er­at­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands, if not mil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of out­put an hour, a re­li­able en­ergy sup­ply is cru­cial,” he said. “This bat­tery will let us bet­ter han­dle peak de­mand pe­ri­ods, in­crease re­li­a­bil­ity for our cus­tomers and lower our emis­sions as a re­sult.”

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