Two batteries capable of delivering up to 2MWh of power have arrived in Carnarvon, Western Australia, where they will soon be part of a trial at the 17MW Mungullah Power Station.

The two batteries, stored in 40-foot shipping containers, will store energy produced by the station with the primary function of providing spinning reserve support for the islanded power station.

In order to ensure reliable power supply to the community Horizon Power always has a spare generator running in the event there is a fault with one of the generators or if there is a spike in demand.

For example, if Horizon needs three generators to meet demand it runs four generators. The extra generator is known as spinning reserve.

The batteries will be tested to see if they are capable of rapidly providing that energy in the event of a spike in demand or as a substitute for one of the generators, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in fuel and maintenance costs.

“The use of the battery storage unit means that the cost of providing spinning reserve to supply electrical power for Carnarvon will be significantly reduced as we will be using stored battery energy rather than gas or diesel to provide reserve power,” said Horizon Power managing director Frank Tudor.

“We have a clear aim to embrace new technology and drive the increased uptake of distributed energy and the capability of microgrid technology. The installation of this battery is another step towards achieving this ambition.”

The batteries were provided by Chinese company Tianjin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Company Limited (Lishen), which won an open tender last year. If the trial is successful, Horizon Power will purchase the batteries at the end of the 12-month trial period.

The batteries have travelled 10,000km across the ocean from China and another 913km by road from Fremantle.

Project director Brett Whisson said the trial will include testing the batteries in a range of operating modes including spinning reserve. The trials are expected to give Horizon Power more information about how it can better support renewable energy installed in Carnarvon with this additional energy storage, however the battery installation will not automatically result in an increase in hosting capacity.

Horizon Power has Australia’s largest portfolio of remote microgrids, or isolated power systems, and is exploring ways of incorporating new technologies such as battery storage and new devices which may allow more renewables to be installed.

When Horizon Power built the Mungullah Power Station it committed to incorporating renewable energy into this station. The trial is the first step in meeting that commitment.

Carnarvon’s average daily load of 6MW is partially supplied by 121 individual PV installations totalling 1.3MW in capacity.