Two batteries capable of delivering up to two megawatt hours of power arrived in Carnarvon last week, where they will soon be part of a cutting edge trial conducted by Horizon Power.
Believed to be the first of its kind in Western Australia, the two 1000kW batteries housed in two 40-foot containers will be connected to the Mungullah Power Station and used to store energy produced by the station with the primary function of providing spinning reserve support for the islanded power station.
At present, in order to ensure reliable power supplies to the community, Horizon Power has a spare generator running in the event there is a fault with one of the generators providing the power or a big spike in demand.
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 one of the generators stops running, 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,” Horizon Power managing director Frank Tudor said.
“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, 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 travelled 5476 nautical miles across the ocean from China, and another 913km by road from Fremantle before being unloaded by crane in a delicate operation.
Project director Brett Whisson said the trial would 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.
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.