Green light for new energy project in South Australia

Schneider Electric and Planet Ark Power have been awarded a $1.95 million grant from the South Australian Government to build a solar and battery plant.

The $13.9 million pilot project, the first of its kind in Australia, will be located at a major distribution centre in Adelaide’s north.

It will combine solar power and battery technology optimised by a Schneider Electric led microgrid management system integrated with an advanced distribution management system to deliver more secure and reliable energy back to the grid.

Managing director of Schneider Electric Gareth O’Reilly said it was a significant milestone for Australia’s renewable energy future.

“The South Australian Government leads the way with its vision for renewable energy generation, and this project is a significant stepping stone towards a future where the whole of Australia has reliable and affordable sources of renewable energy,” he said.

“Nationwide, there is potential for 10,000MW or more of demand side response and load shifting, equivalent to five Liddell power stations, and 20 per cent energy efficiency improvements across the National Electricity Market.

“We believe demand side response and energy efficiency should be explored as a first priority to make energy for all Australians safer, more reliable, more sustainable and more affordable.

“Full adoption of demand side response and load shifting solutions will reduce the need to open new large-scale power stations. It will also provide the network with the flexibility to allow high levels of renewable penetration into the system.”

The grant is one of four grants from this round and part of the SA state government’s $150 million Renewable Technology Fund.

Planet Ark Power general manager Jonathan Ruddick said the company was proud to be partnering with both the SA government and Schneider Electric on the initiative.

“This microgrid project allows the demonstration of the technology that will power our future energy supply both locally and globally,” he said,

“The microgrid harnesses the full potential of renewable energy by dealing with the intermittent nature of solar.

“This project is an example of South Australian leadership in building a stable and affordable energy future.”

The project will include a grid-connected microgrid with 2.9MWh of smart battery storage, demand management, new network integration technology and up to 6MW of rooftop solar power.

Work is expected to commence early in 2018.