SA Water readies to install another 8MW solar, 880kWh battery storage

SA Water looks to be making a start on its big plans for solar and storage in 2020, with an application to the South Australia regulator to install 8MW of solar and 750kW/880kWh of battery storage at its Swan Reach Water Treatment Plan, north-east of Adelaide.

The utility, one of the state’s largest energy users, has submitted an application for a variation to its electricity generation licence, to the South Australian Essential Services Commission.

The application seeks approval for multiple new generating plant locations, including a 2.5MW solar array at the Swan Reach 1 pumping station, 4.95MW of solar at the Swan Reach 2 pumping station, and 550kW of PV at the Swan Reach water filtration plant.

The application also seeks a licence to install a 750kW/880kWh Tesla battery storage system at the Swan Reach water pumping station.

The new installations are part of SA Water’s journey to “net zero” electricity costs, which it had aimed to achieve this year by rolling out a total of 154MW of solar PV and 34MWh of energy storage across more than 70 of its sites in a plan first unveiled in December 2017.

The huge task has been undertaken in partnership with Adelaide-based Enerven – a wholly-owned subsidiary of SA Power Networks – which won the tender for the massive contract in 2018, including plans for a floating solar plant.

SA Water manages more than 27,000km of water mains, including 9,266 km in the Adelaide metropolitan area. In 2016-17, the utility’s electricity bills totalled $55 million for 220GWh and $62 million in 2017-18.

“Locating generation behind the meter will improve our resilience to grid interruptions, significantly reduce our network charges and isolate our business from electricity market price volatility, in both the short and long-term,” SA Water’s head of “Zero Cost Energy Future” Nicola Murphy said in January.

“We’ll always need to use and buy some electricity, but we can be smart in our approach to managing it as we work towards a zero cost energy future.”

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