The state government of Western Australia is expanding its range of solar-smoothing energy storage systems with plans to deploy a big project at the old Kwinana fossil fuel power station near Perth.
“Battery storage is proving to be a versatile solution to network challenges,” said Western Australian Energy Minister Bill Johnston this week, in an announcement that the state government is exploring the opportunity to build a 100 MW/200 MWh battery system at the decommissioned Kwinana power plant.
The announcement marked the launch of the request for information process for private enterprises to build the battery. If it proves feasible, it will also receive at least AU$15 million ($10.7 million) of Commonwealth government funding.
Johnston is said to be in discussions with the federal government regarding further funding for the project, which is expected to generate a job for every megawatt installed (100) during construction. The proposed system will effectively be a giant sponge for daytime solar generation in the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).
About 50% of Western Australian households are expected to have solar PV on their roofs by 2030, and this poses challenges to the grid when solar generation is high and demand for energy in the system is low. Last year, the state government devised a Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap to trial and implement innovative strategies that will turn a potential crisis of system instability into high-value solutions that benefit all of the state’s energy consumers.
The proposed big battery – the state’s largest, and at this stage Australia’s second largest after South Australia’s 150 MW Hornsdale Power Reserve – will be managed by Synergy, Western Australia’s state-owned energy generator and retailer. The system is intended to support the integration of more renewable energy into the grid, smooth fluctuations in demand, and substantially contribute to grid security.
In the transition to a renewable-fed electricity system, it will also “reduce wear and tear on existing generation plants that are not designed to fluctuate in response to high levels of renewable energy in the grid,” the joint statement by Premier Mark McGowan and Johnston said.
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