Western Australia goes green for battery energy storage via Carnegie Clean Energy

Carnegie Clean Energy ASX CCE Western Australia green battery energy storage microgrid
Carnegie Clean Energy's microgrid on Thevenard Island, 1,300 km north of Perth.

Renewable energy developer Carnegie Clean Energy (ASX: CCE) has received an operational boost in the form of a $6.8 million contract from Western Power, a Western Australian state government-owned energy supplier, to build a 5MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) facility in Kalbarri, Western Australia (WA).

The terms of the contract stipulate that Carnegie’s wholly-owned subsidiary Energy Made Clean and its JV partner Lendlease Services, will receive $6.8 million in order to build a sustainable energy storage system capable of generating 4.5MWh of energy capacity and a minimum 2MWh to be accessible at any time for reliability backup services.

The key factor for the WA state government is for the venture to deliver uninterrupted accessibility available on-demand throughout the day.

Earlier today, Carnegie reported that design work for the project will commence immediately, with construction scheduled to begin in November 2018. The current completion date for the BESS facility is estimated to be June 2019.

Once online, it is hoped the facility will provide a substantial diversifier to current electricity production and usage across WA.

Carnegie Clean Energy Western Power Kalbarri microgrid project
Kalbarri microgrid project site map.

Australia is currently struggling to meets its rapidly growing energy consumption footprint and is looking at a wide range of energy sources to potentially quench consumer demand.

Tesla has already cut the ribbon on the world’s largest lithium-ion battery launched in South Australia last year, close to Jamestown in northern South Australia (SA).

At the time of the grand opening, SA Premier Jay Weatherill said Tesla building SA’s first battery-powered facility “has put us at the centre of the tech universe in South Australia.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Australian government continues to introduce various government-sponsored initiatives designed to boost domestic energy production and maintain Australia’s commodity-based dominance on the global stage.

Detailed battery operation

With a capacity of a 5MW in addition to an overload capacity of 10MW, the planned BESS facility is on track to be integrated into the largest microgrid in WA.

Carnegie says that the BESS facility will operate in two distinctly different modes, dubbed “Island Mode” and “Grid Mode”.

Island mode allows the BESS facility to operate in isolation from the main power grid but will have the option to switch to Grid mode in order to provide network stabilisation services with regards to voltage and frequency to other generation sources.

The dual-mode facility is therefore expected to help Western Australian state authorities to avoid the same issues as South Australia encountered in 2016, whereby a weather-related power cut led to state-wide blackouts while sparking hot debate about Australia’s energy policy at the national level.

Partly because of the frailties discovered in 2016, the SA government is also allocating grant money towards diversifying its source of energy. Earlier this month, the SA government announced grants worth A$8.7m for pumped hydroelectric storage plants near Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Germein.

Energy security for Western Australia

Carnegie Clean Energy CEO Dr Michael Ottaviano thinks the awarding of this project demonstrated its capability to deliver innovative utility-scale solar and microgrid solutions across Australia.

“We’re excited to have won an extremely competitive, global tender using the latest in storage and control technologies. This reinforces Carnegie’s leadership in the design and delivery of innovative energy solutions in Australia,” said Mr Ottaviano.

He added that “this contract award comes just over 12 months after the establishment of the EMC/Lendlease JV which has secured $25m in orders in the last 4 weeks with Kalbarri and our Northam Solar Farm. With tender cycles running in excess of 12 months, and a clear focus on delivery of high-value projects for utility grade customers, we are just starting to see the results of our hard work over the past year.”

With South Australia setting an example of how not to manage finite energy resources, West Australian Energy Minister Ben Wyatt said a future BESS facility in WA “is a game changer for regional communities who rely on power from a long feeder line, which is subject to environmental factors that can cause outages. The improved reliability for the region will boost the local tourism and retail operations, as well as enhance the lifestyle of residents.”

“This partnership between Western Power and the EMC/LendLease JV also supports the Kalbarri community’s desire to be renewable-powered, with this project being one of Australia’s biggest 100% renewable microgrids,” he added.

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