Kid­ston Re­new­able Hub

The Australian Energy Review - - CONTENTS - EL­IZ­A­BETH FABRI


Aus­tralia’s re­new­able en­ergy in­dus­try is grow­ing at a rapid pace, yet there is still knowl­edge gaps when it comes to large-scale so­lar PV and bat­tery stor­age ser­vic­ing fringe-of-grid re­gions. Con­ergy’s $42.5 mil­lion Lake­land So­lar and Stor­age project will test a num­ber of bat­tery op­er­a­tion modes and share lessons learnt with in­dus­try part­ners.

LO­CATED in far North Queens­land on the Cape York Penin­sula, the Lake­land So­lar and Stor­age project is the first Aus­tralian util­ity-scale so­lar and stor­age fa­cil­ity built on the out­skirts of the elec­tric­ity grid. This is an area typ­i­cally prone to en­ergy re­li­a­bil­ity chal­lenges from lack of sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture, net­work lim­i­ta­tions, and long dis­tance power lines.

De­vel­oped by one of the world’s largest down­stream so­lar com­pa­nies Con­ergy, Lake­land com­prises a 13 megawatt (MW), 41,440 panel so­lar ar­ray; 1.4MW lithium-ion bat­tery stor­age ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing up to 5.3 megawatt-hours (MWH) of en­ergy; and a smart sys­tem con­troller to fa­cil­i­tate con­sis­tent power sup­ply for the Lake­land com­mu­nity.

Con­struc­tion be­gan in Septem­ber last year, with com­mis­sion­ing now un­der­way for the project, which will be con­nected to the Er­gon En­ergy sub­sta­tion -- one of the most re­mote Na­tional Elec­tric­ity Mar­ket (NEM) sub­sta­tions in the coun­try.

Once op­er­a­tional, the project has po­ten­tial to rev­o­lu­tionise fu­ture power sup­ply for fringe-of-grid lo­ca­tions, with a num­ber of bat­tery op­er­a­tion modes sched­uled to be tested over the next two years, in­clud­ing ‘grid-to-is­land­ing’ func­tion­al­ity.

Con­ergy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Christo­pher West said the project will set mea­sur­able per­for­mance re­sults for any fu­ture projects with so­lar and stor­age con­nected to the grid in re­mote re­gions.

“We have a unique head start in the race to roll out large-scale re­new­able so­lar en­ergy, bat­tery stor­age and smart con­troller ca­pa­bil­ity,” he said.

Bat­tery test­ing

Af­ter a six month con­struc­tion phase, com­mis­sion­ing of the Lake­land So­lar and Stor­age project be­gan in July, mark­ing the Lake­land re­gion’s first step to­wards en­ergy in­de­pen­dence.

The project in­cor­po­rates Con­ergy’s Hy­brid En­ergy Stor­age So­lu­tion (CHESS) tech­nol­ogy that was es­tab­lished to run on ei­ther off-grid, fringe-of-grid or on-grid power sys­tem set-ups, and pro­vide de­mand­able re­new­able power sup­ply 24 hours a day.

“The CHESS tech­nol­ogy uses a re­motely con­trolled and mon­i­tored in­verter sys­tem that pro­vides pre­dictable and de­mand­able re­new­able power sup­ply as well as volt­age and fre­quency con­trol to im­prove power qual­ity,” Mr West said.

“CHESS also per­forms pi­lot­ing and test­ing of other pro­gram­mable en­ergy set-ups in a real-life sce­nario.”

The test­ing modes to be com­pleted over the next two years in­cluded is­land­ing func­tion­al­ity to demon­strate the Lake­land com­mu­nity could run in­de­pen­dently from the grid in the event of a power out­age; baseload ca­pa­bil­i­ties test­ing to demon­strate the con­tin­u­ous and re­li­able sup­ply of power out­put when so­lar and bat­tery stor­age are com­bined; and pri­mary con­trol re­serve ser­vices to test its ca­pa­bil­ity as a re­new­able power sta­tion re­serve on im­me­di­ate re­sponse standby.

“The role of the com­bined smart con­troller and util­ity-scale bat­tery is to ini­tially demon­strate its ca­pa­bil­ity to be able to iden­tify and ul­ti­mately per­form the role of a pri­mary con­trol re­serve,” Mr West said.

“Is­land­ing is also an­other fu­ture func­tion that the com­mu­nity could ben­e­fit from if there was a com­plete power fail­ure down the line.”

Knowl­edge shar­ing

Run­ning si­mul­ta­ne­ously to the bat­tery test­ing, Con­ergy’s Knowl­edge Shar­ing Pro­gram (KSP) will share po­ten­tial learn­ings with project stake­hold­ers, the Aus­tralian Re­new­able En­ergy Agency (ARENA), min­ing gi­ant BHP, Er­gon En­ergy and Ori­gin En­ergy who will be buy­ing power from the plant.

“ARENA’S $17.5m sup­port of the project re­in­forces the project’s im­por­tance in demon­strat­ing real-life func­tion­al­ity of large-scale so­lar and util­ity-scale bat­tery stor­age con­nected to the grid, of­fer­ing a re­li­able en­ergy out­put with­out caus­ing dis­rup­tion or instability,” Mr West said.

“ARENA is an ac­tive mem­ber of the KSP Steer­ing Com­mit­tee which over­sees the Bat­tery Test Plan and re­port­ing mile­stones.”

The pro­gram’s aim was to as­sess learn­ing from the CHESS tech­nol­ogy to ac­cel­er­ate the in­tro­duc­tion of sim­i­lar de­vel­op­ments across re­gional Aus­tralia.

“We are very pleased that BHP Bil­li­ton is tak­ing an ac­tive part in the Lake­land So­lar and Stor­age KSP, fur­ther in­ves­ti­gat­ing the use of re­li­able re­new­able en­ergy tech­nolo­gies as part of their op­er­a­tions in re­mote and off-grid mine sites and a com­mit­ment to re­duc­ing emis­sions,” he said.

Long term ben­e­fits

On top of the 50 jobs al­ready cre­ated in the re­gion dur­ing con­struc­tion, the Lake­land project will also re­quire 10 op­er­a­tion po­si­tions from the lo­cal com­mu­nity over the project’s ex­pected op­er­at­ing life of more than 20 years.

The project was also set to ad­dress the on­go­ing en­ergy se­cu­rity prob­lems fac­ing the re­gion.

“The lo­cal Lake­land re­gion cur­rently has power qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues due to it be­ing lo­cated at the end of the Na­tional Elec­tric­ity Mar­ket (NEM) trans­mis­sion line,” Mr West said.

“Hav­ing a lo­cally-based re­new­able power gen­er­a­tion plant will solve these prob­lems.

“It’s also cre­at­ing an op­por­tu­nity for re­new­ables to ex­pand into the main­stream en­ergy mar­ket and prove the tech­nol­ogy can pro­vide a cred­i­ble and sta­ble power sup­ply.”

Mr West said there was also scope to ex­pand on the cur­rent Lake­land project to pro­vide con­sis­tent power qual­ity in the State even fur­ther North.

“This is the first of many projects to be com­pleted by Con­ergy in the re­gion in­clud­ing a Lake­land Stage II and pos­si­ble Stage III to­talling more than 100MW,” he said.

“Con­ergy is also fo­cus­ing on the many other Aus­tralia-wide de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties that have come our way since hav­ing suc­cess­fully con­structed such a mile­stone project in Queens­land.”

All im­ages: Con­ergy.

the project cre­ated 50 jobs dur­ing the con­struc­tion stage, and 10 op­er­a­tional po­si­tions.

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