Esperance solar, wind and battery hybrid power hub to be built by Juwi

Image: Wikimedia Commons

A solar, wind, and battery hybrid energy “hub” that aims to meet up to half (46%) of the annual electricity demand of the Western Australia coastal town of Esperance is set to be built by the Australian arm of German renewables developer Juwi.

Juwi Renewable Energy said this week that it had signed an agreement with Perth-based outfit Contract Power to build the hybrid renewables generator, with 4MW of solar and two 4.5MW wind turbines integrated with a lithium-ion battery system and gas generators.

Contract Power – which has been best known in the state for the design, procurement, installation and operation of remote diesel power stations – will own and operate the Esperance generation facility, which is expected to be operational in early 2022.

For Juwi, the deal marks its fourth such project in Australia, including the solar and storage system at the Degrussa Gold and Copper Mine, and the wind/solar/battery/gas/diesel system at the Agnew gold mine – both in W.A.; and a solar and flow battery system at the University of Queensland research centre on Heron Island.

Juwi said the electricity generated by the hyrbid system would be distributed by Horizon Power, the Western Australia government-owned regional distribution company that is proving to have a relatively progressive approach to power solutions for some of the more remote parts of its grid.

“This is a long term solution which will deliver cleaner electricity by reducing the carbon footprint and increasing the generation of renewable energy to provide the best outcome for the community,” Horizon says on its own website about the Esperance renewables hub.

Horizon noted that the battery energy storage system would improve the power hub’s efficiency by responding to variabilities in power transmission, while also reducing the likelihood of power fluctuations.

Juwi’s Hybrid IQ microgrid control system will also be used to smooth the integration of the hybrid system into the Horizon network.

“Our customers benefit from our comprehensive service portfolio that supports our clients at every stage, from project development and commissioning to the operation and maintenance of their systems,” Juwi board member Stephen Hansen.

That said, Juwi’s Degrussa project has caused the company some heartache, with a battle over payments at the landmark solar and battery storage facility winding up in the Western Australia Supreme Court.

Juwi, responsible for the construction of the $39 million project, took French-based Neoen – the owner of the project – to court in December of last year in a dispute over some $2 million, after a “blackout” at the project in October 2016 left the plant offline for most of the first half of 2017.

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