Ergon’s GUSS wins engineering excellence award

Pictured (L-R) at the Australian Engineering Exellence Awards are Ergon's Jason Hall, David Ingram, Stephen Richardson and Candice Horig.

Five years of development and innovation by Ergon to get power to 700 remote premises in Queensland, was recognised at the Australian Engineering Excellence Awards (AEEA) for Queensland.

Ergon’s Technology Innovation Engineer Stephen Richardson was thrilled the team had been recognised for the Grid Utility Support Systems (GUSS) program.

“Given the constraints on sections of our western Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) network, we developed an innovative solution to improve the quality of power supply in selected rural areas,” Mr Richardson said.

“In turn, that is helping the rural economy and quality of life of people in these communities.”

Mr Richardson said GUSS was a benchmark for Australian engineering and raised the standard for energy storage and use.

GUSS has been developed since 2011 to meet the increased power demand of remote consumers and was installed in Middlemount in Central Queensland in August this year.

The SWER was rolled out in the 1960s and since then rural homes and farms have introduced more electrical items, increasing their need for power.

“The network-side battery energy storage technology is now providing voltage reliability on at least 10 SWER powerlines – vital electricity conduits that provide economic energy supply to many primary producers in Western Queensland communities,” Mr Richardson said.

“Each GUSS unit has 56 Lithium-Ion type batteries which provide 25kVA and 100 kilowatt nominal capacity. This is enough to power the average home for up to five days and, the GUSS units operate by ‘topping up’ during quiet times and ‘decanting’ into the network during times of higher demand when voltage levels need levelling out, “ he said.

Ergon maintains about 65,000 kilometres of SWER network servicing the electricity needs of around 26,000 rural Queenslanders.

GUSS units have been located and connected to the SWER network at Weir (near Charters Towers), Taroon, St George, Tambo, Dajarra, Middlemount and lines between Rockhampton and Mackay, north of Alpha.