Aurecon report heralds new era for renewables

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Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon has today released a new report analysing the performance of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery energy storage system and highlighted that the use of similar fast response systems could significantly improve the reliability, affordability and sustainability of energy across Australia.

The Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) in South Australia was built one year ago to stabilise the state’s electricity grid, facilitate integration of renewable energy and help prevent load-shedding (i.e. blackout) events. Aurecon’s independent report found the system – owned by Neoen and supplied by Tesla – delivered all project objectives, reduced volatility on the state-wide network over the 12-month period and contributed to a reduction of close to $40 million in the frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) market, via increased competition and removal of the 35 MW local FCAS constraint.

Aurecon’s Energy Leader Paul Gleeson said “HPR is a game changer for the energy sector and has demonstrated some of the new capabilities we need in the electricity network to successfully integrate greater proportions of renewables as our generation fleet continues to decarbonise over time.”

On the afternoon of 25 August 2018, the national electricity market (NEM) experienced a major system security event when a lightning strike took the QLD-NSW interconnector out of service.  This put the rest of the NEM into a low frequency condition and subsequently resulted into a separation of SA from the remainder of the NEM.  HPR responded with significant frequency support to all connected regions, and then helped restore SA to normal frequency range, all within about 20 seconds, meaning that no residents or market participants saw an impact.  This was the most significant test of the battery’s capability in the 12 months of data we analysed, and really helped us to understand what it is capable of.

Paul commented: “HPR is a first step in terms of an immediate response to creating stability in a network which has a rapidly growing proportion of variable renewable energy. As the penetration of renewable energy increases in Australia, it’s critical for us to find cost effective ways to make renewable power dispatchable and integrated into the grid.  What has been done here by the SA Government, Neoen and Tesla is the type of innovative and forward-thinking approach that we are going to need more of in the years ahead.”

Aurecon is at the forefront of developing a range of solutions for the energy sector across generation, storage, transmission and distribution, and overall system design, focused on improving outcomes for consumers in terms of affordability, reliability and sustainability. Aurecon was appointed by the South Australian Government as its specialist technical adviser for the implementation of its Energy Plan since early 2017.

Aurecon self-funded this independent report due to significant interest in this important national issue and the importance of having access to evidence-based data on this pioneering project’s performance against its objectives.

How does it work?

HPR reserves 70% of its capacity for the SA Government to use in emergency situations and allows the owner Neoen the other 30% to dispatch and make a commercial return. Three times larger than any other lithium ion battery ever built, HPR supports system security, reliability and a stable supply through its ability to provide short bursts of input and output. It can rapidly discharge and charge to support the continuous safe and stable operation of the grid or respond in a fraction of a second when something unexpected happens elsewhere in the state or the National Electricity Market.

HPR is able to provide a rapid response to changes in frequency and demand on the network and thereby plays a key role in reducing the risk of a black out event, separation of South Australia from the National Electricity Market and prevention of load shedding.

 

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