Wärtsilä announces first Australian energy storage project

Wärtsilä dual-fuel engine in industrial setting
Image: Wärtsilä

Technology group Wärtsilä will supply a 9.2MW/8.7MWh energy storage system to independent power producer Zenith Energy.

Zenith sells the electrical power it produces to some of the world’s largest mining companies with operations in Australia. The installed energy storage system will address a cyclic load demand in an underground mine, and operate in parallel with an existing dual fuel engine power plant currently with total capacity of 65.98MW.

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The energy storage system will be delivered on an engineered equipment delivery (EEQ) basis and is expected to become operational in Q1, 2022. The order was booked in June 2021. 

Zenith Energy is a repeat customer for Wärtsilä and had previously procured three operating Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engines that are used for constant load feed. Zenith Energy will add a further two Wärtsilä 34SG pure gas engines to the current fleet in 2022.

The new energy storage system combining the fully integrated GridSolv Quantum modules and GEMS Digital Energy Platform, will cater to a more frequent cycling load. Adding storage will save the engines from frequent ramping by managing the power fluctuations of the mining site, therefore improving the operational efficiency, resulting in fuel savings and a lower carbon footprint for the mine’s power plant. 

“Wärtsilä as the supplier of both engine and the energy storage systems provides the best solution available for us to feed power efficiently to our end customer. The addition of an energy storage system to also work as spinning reserve to provide emergency back-up and short duration power, will mitigate any power interruptions. Should such situations occur, the system will supply load until a stand-by engine is started. Moreover, the storage system will help further reduce the plant’s carbon footprint,” Zenith Energy technology and infrastructure manager Simon Jelly said.

“For islanded grids, such as mining plants, where the source of power is limited, our energy storage solution can manage the reliability and efficiency of the system and also support their decarbonisation initiative. Repeat business with our customer Zenith Energy, reaffirms our technology leadership and commitments towards this market,” Wärtsilä energy business director Australasia Kari Punnonen said. 

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Wärtsilä’s GEMS Digital Energy Platform will integrate Zenith’s engines and operate as a Power Plant Controller, providing a platform for intelligent control and optimised operation for the hybrid plant. GEMS is also capable of managing the remote grid under a single portfolio in future operations.

With Wärtsilä’s energy storage and advanced energy management system there will be future opportunities for Zenith to seamlessly integrate other renewable energy sources such as PV solar or wind into this hybrid network.