Construction has begun on the final components of what will be Australia’s largest solar plus battery storage and desalination microgrid of its type, at Carnegie Clean Energy’s Garden Island Microgrid Project in Western Australia.
The WA-based, ASX-listed company said on Tuesday that works had begun on the 2MW of solar and 2MW/0.5MWh battery storage system, which would result in the largest embedded, grid-connected solar and battery microgrid in Australia.
The solar and storage join Carnegie’s 240kW CETO 5 wave energy units, built off Garden Island (61km south of Perth) between 2012 and 2016 – the world’s first commercial-scale, grid-connected wave array.
The project is expected to serve as a template for many more such island-based renewable energy microgrids, starting with a wave energy integrated hybrid power station Carnegie has designed for the Mauritian island of Rodrigues, which will also include 2MW of solar PV and a 2MW/0.5MWh battery system.
The WA Garden Island facility, in conjunction with the desalination plant already built by Carnegie on the island, will supply power and water to the HMAS Stirling naval base, which is the largest of its kind in Australia.
The project will also integrate with the existing Department of Defence diesel generators and the Western Power grid, to demonstrate both off-grid and on-grid functionality, and the possibilities of a “bumpless” transfer between the two operating modes, the company said.
“Renewable microgrids can deliver improved security of supply with clean, reliable power and water,” said CCE CEO Dr Michael Ottaviano on Tuesday.
“Carnegie Clean Energy is at the forefront own the design and delivery of renewable microgrid solutions that are revolutionary,” he said.
Along the way, Carnegie has been well supported in the project by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which has provided $28.5 million in combined grant funding.
In a joint statement with federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg – who was on-site on Tuesday morning to help “turn the sod” – minister for defence Marise Payne said that her department was committed to improving energy efficiency and resilience, reducing costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“This project will integrate with the existing Defence power infrastructure to increase the energy resilience of the base,” the statement said.
Last month, Carnegie’s wholly owned subsidiary, Energy Made Clean, won the contract to design, construct and install another hybrid solar and battery storage microgrid for the Australian armed forces, this time at Delamere Air Weapons Range in the Northern Territory of Australia.