Government-owned Northern Territory energy company Territory Generation has announced the go-ahead for a 5MW/3.3MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) to be located in Alice Springs.
Developed with the assistance of global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon, also the specialist and technical engineering advisor to the South Australian government for the agreement to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, the NT BESS will be one of the largest grid-connected storage solutions in Australia.
The growing interest in battery storage facilities coincides with calls this week by the new CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator for state and federal energy ministers to endorse the Finkel review.
This would enable regulators and industry to move forward on a range of regulatory changes aimed at facilitating the transformation of the Australian energy market.
According to Aurecon energy leader east coast Australia Paul Gleeson, the BESS will prove a game-changer for Alice Springs and the Northern Territory as they transition into a renewable energy future.
“These new technologies are an important step to ensure network reliability in a controlled transition to renewables. Battery storage solutions have a unique ability to address multiple network needs, through storing energy and assisting in grid stability, facilitating a smoother transition into a high renewables future,” Gleeson said.
Though primarily being installed to offer generation stabilisation and manage increased solar energy for the network, the project will also coincide with a shift of generation from the ageing Ron Goodin Power Station to the expanded Owen Springs Power Station at the end of 2017.
Following the announcement that Vector Energy was its preferred supplier to install the BESS, Tim Duignan, Territory Generation’s CEO, stated, “This energy storage system heralds a new era of power supply for Alice Springs and will be integrated into our existing system, ultimately supporting an increase in the solar profile of Alice Springs.”
As the Alice Springs electricity network and generating plant faces a number of unique challenges in respect to network stability and the efficiency of its operations, Territory Generation partnered with technical advisor Aurecon to undertake extensive modelling of the Alice Springs grid to determine the battery’s capacity and its benefits for network stability.
Batteries were identified as a key technology to offer greater grid stability, defer network upgrades and increase efficiency of operations through the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions. In particular, the BESS was seen as a solution that could provide improved power generation reliability for the region by providing contingency frequency control ancillary services and assisting to control the response of existing generators to fluctuations in solar power output during cloud cover events.
The implementation of the BESS is underway with expected completion by late 2017. The project will also have the versatility to allow for additional battery capacity to be added at a later date dependent on the growth of the network.