Western Australia regional utility Horizon Power has tapped energy storage company Senec Australia to supply smart battery systems for its leading-edge microgrid project that aims to run the coastal Pilbara town of Onslow on at least 50 per cent renewables – and likely up to 70 per cent.
Senec, which is a full-owned subsidiary of one of Europe’s largest energy supply companies EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg, said on Monday that its Australian business had been selected as the exclusive provider of small-scale battery storage systems for the Horizon project.
As we have reported on One Step, Horizon Power’s Renewable Energy Pilot aims to integrate traditional energy sources with solar panel and battery storage systems to maximise the amount of renewable energy in its microgrid in Onslow.
The plans for Onslow – which is a launching base for the massive Wheatstone LNG project owned by Chevron – will combine a new 5.25 MW gas-fired power plant, distributed and utility-scale solar, and battery storage, each element of which is being contributed to financially by Chevron.
At the time of the project’s launch in October 2016, then WA energy minister Mike Nahan said it would create “a new era of energy competition and efficiency for households and businesses.”
In June last year, when the gas-fired power station was nearing completion, Horizon revealed that it had awarded the contract for the solar farm to Complete Power Systems (CPS) National, to be built adjacent to the new gas power plant.
And a utility-scale battery was to be built and installed by Contract Power Australia within Horizon Power’s new zone substation, about 3km from the Onslow town centre.
The small-scale battery systems, which would be made available to households and business at a price heavily subsidised by Horizon, would be installed by MPS, a Western Australia-based specialist partner of Senec, the company said.
It said the ability to integrate the batteries with Horizon Power’s Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) – the microgrid’s centralised control system – played an important role in Senec’s selection, considering its affiliation with one of the largest German electric utilities.
“The commitment to local engineering and technical support was an important criterion for Horizon Power in selecting the partner,” Senec said.
“In conjunction with larger traditional and utility scale renewable generation plants, as well as the intelligent control of the microgrid, the pilot seeks to demonstrate that Onslow can sustainably and reliably be supplied with clean electricity,” the statement said.
“Each of SENEC’s batteries will be integrated with Horizon Power’s Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS), the centralised control system that will ‘orchestrate’ DER at times when intelligent control is required.”