Generation specification smoothes power fluctuation

Western Australia Regional utility Horizon Power recently introduced updated technical requirements for renewable energy installations.

The Generation Management for Solar Installers specification ensures a smoothing device is installed on every new solar power system to help with power fluctuations.

Included in the new technical requirements are specifications for generation-managed renewable energy installations, the electricity output of which can be controlled to help maintain the reliability of power supply to all customers.

Generation management helps manage any sudden change in the amount of electricity being generated by renewable energy installations to reduce the effect of what might otherwise be an unmanageable increase in demand on the power station.

The state’s infrastructure is having difficulties coping with the unstable power due to injection of solar energy from private systems.

“Currently there are too many solar panels feeding into generator-based mini-grids in some towns in rural WA,” Western Australian solar designer and manufacturer Magellan Power stated in a media release.

Horizon Power has introduced the changes to ensure these “black holes” of power are avoided with a piece of “solar smoothing” equipment.

“The smoothing device will provide back-up power to the grid while the generators ramp up and down – reducing the long-term wear and tear of the equipment,” Magellan Power said.

The introduction of the specifications will ensure Horizon’s infrastructure is protected, while also allowing space for new solar farms, where the hosting capacity has been reached.

Magellan Power has been working for the past three years on a grid power support system (pictured) that has already been sold to Queensland utility Ergon Energy for a similar application.

The support system was given to residents of Townsville for a similar purpose of correcting power levels, and is currently in operation.

Magellan Power chief technical officer Lindsay Meek said the smoothing device is critical in smaller solar-powered communities.

“We can keep adding solar panels but it will eventually break the network,” Mr Meek said.