Horizon Power tests latest battery storage technology in Carnarvon

Horizon Power's Mungullah Power Station Carnarvon
Horizon Power's Mungullah Power Station Carnarvon

Horizon Power has issued a request for tender for an industrial battery that can deliver up to 2MW hours of energy to be trialled in Carnarvon, a coastal town north of Perth.

The goal of the tender is for a battery to be installed at Horizon Power’s 17MW Mungullah Power Station to store energy produced by the station and release that energy in ways that benefit the power system.

The battery will be used to enhance generating capacity and optimise spinning reserve. Spinning reserve is essentially spare on-line capacity that is drawn upon when demand increases quickly. For example, when a customer switches on a large piece of machinery, there is a a peak in demand and extra generation needs to be available to provide that spinning reserve. This usually requires generators operate at lower loads and consequently at a lower efficiency. By using energy storage to provide the spinning reserve, generation costs may be significantly reduced.

The trial is also expected to give Horizon Power more information about how it can better control renewable energy installed in Carnarvon with this additional energy storage.

Horizon Power managing director Frank Tudor said the battery storage unit will hopefully replace gas and diesel generating sets to provide reserve power.

“New technology in the renewable and distributed energy space is presenting multiple opportunities and threats to energy utilities so I am delighted that Horizon Power is at the forefront of exploring these new opportunities,” he said.

The town of Carnarvon, in Western Australia’s Gascoyne region, has reached its unmanaged hosting capacity in terms of renewable energy. This means any new renewable energy needs to have generation management because of the risk it poses to tripping the power station and resulting in loss of power to all customers in the community.

Carnarvon has one of the highest distributed renewable energy generation levels of all of Horizon Power’s microgrids. The average daily load of 6MW is partially supplied by 121 individual PV installations totalling 1.3MW in capacity.

While this situation will not change during the trial, learnings from this trial will assist Horizon Power to increase its renewable energy hosting target.