A network support stand-alone power system (SAPS) solution is being trialled for two connections on a hard-to-access section of Ergon Energy’s network in central Queensland’s Bustard Head as part of its fringe of grid strategy.
The lighthouse and museum at Bustard Head, south of Gladstone, is serviced by 24km of SWER network through national park with thick vegetation and difficult terrain that is often impassable in wet weather or high tides.
The trial SAPS generates and stores its own energy using solar PV, batteries, and back-up diesel generator.
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“The line is an aging asset that is difficult and more expensive to maintain, so this trial is an opportunity to investigate how a SAPS could support the lighthouse and the museum,” executive general manager engineering Peter Price said.
“It adds to the reliability of supply regardless of the weather and we’re gathering some really important data to help develop future solutions for customer connections in high cost-to-serve network areas supplied by SWER lines.”
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The SAPS program is part of the exploration of alternative energy solutions to improve customer service, cost to serve, and to challenge traditional ideas of a distribution network.
“We will have more SAPS across the network as the technology matures, becomes more cost effective, and as we address aging network assets,” Peter said.
“The network support SAPS trials are in line with the current regulatory framework and we are actively working with the regulators and Queensland Government to inform the future regulatory framework in Queensland to enable both Ergon Energy Network and Energex to be able to supply customers by SAPS where it is viable to do so into the future.”