West Australian-based Advanced Energy Resources (AER) has commenced construction of its 3.5MW wind, solar and battery project to supply WA garnet producer GMA Garnet’s Port Gregory wet plant operations.
|AER BESS technology to power GMA Garnet’s wet plant operations|
The project, located 40 kilometres south of Kalbarri, will use various innovations including a world first back-to-back microgrid inverter topology and refurbished Enercon wind turbines.
Due for commissioning in late 2019, AER will build, own and operate the project which includes a 2.5MW wind farm, a 1MW solar farm and 2MW/0.5MWh battery energy storage system (BESS). The site is located in one of WA’s weakest sections of electricity network, being 120 kilometres from the Geraldton substation, at the northern extent of WA’s South-West Interconnected System. Once commissioned, the project will be WA’s first hybrid wind, solar and battery project.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide AU$3 million in funding to AER as part of its Advancing Renewables Program to commercially trial the back-to- back inverter technology. The technology will dramatically increase the penetration of renewable energy in microgrids located in weak, fringe of grid areas and increase reliability of supply for electricity users.
The funding will provide a commercial demonstration of the technology which could have widespread opportunity for implementation in various settings.
This commercial implementation of the back to back inverter topology will be a world first.
By decoupling the renewable energy generators and load from the electricity network, and locating these within a standalone microgrid, the impact of variable renewable energy generation on the electricity network is dramatically reduced. The BESS will allow up to 100 per cent penetration of renewable energy and uninterrupted power supply capability during network outages and has been designed to provide on-demand network support if required by the network operator.
The use of refurbished turbines will be an Australian first. The project’s five Enercon E40 turbines were decommissioned in northern Germany as part of a wind farm repowering project. AER decommissioned and transported the turbines and subsequently undertook an intensive refurbishment process of the wind turbines’ blades and mechanical and electrical components. AER will undertake and manage all recommissioning of the turbines including assembly, commissioning and ongoing operations and maintenance.
AER Managing Director Luca Castelli believes the project showcases a number of innovative approaches toward delivering reliable, low cost renewable energy to large energy users.
“By thinking outside the box, and with ARENA’s support, we have been able to commercialise a new approach to energy storage and renewable energy project delivery which will change the way that renewable energy generators are delivered in weak, fringe of grid areas and by customers who are unable to commit to long term power purchase agreements,” commented Mr Castelli.
*Article published in the July-September 2019 issue of The Asia Miner