As Tesla races to deliver its grid and wind farm-connected 129MWh lithium-ion battery in time for South Australia’s coming summer, a much smaller-scale version of some of the same technology is set to be switched on at a salt manufacturing facility across the Tasman, on New Zealand’s South Island.
NZ utility business Vector Energy Solutions said on Monday that a 250kW/570kWh Tesla Powerpack would soon be switched on at Dominion Salt’s Lake Grassmere works, to store and smooth energy from the already installed 660kW wind turbine.
Integration of the wind turbine and Tesla battery storage system – believed to be an Australasian first – is expected to meet around 75 per cent of the site’s energy needs, minimising its use of the grid, and maximising security of supply in a region susceptible to earthquakes.
“We contacted Vector because we decided that battery storage was critical to our energy needs,” said Dominion Salt CEO Shane Dufaur.
“It’s incredibly important to have security of supply for the overall sustainability of the business. Given out location and the recent seismic events, we need to make sure that we’re not reliant 100 per cent on the grid.
“Vector produced a design that incorporates our renewable energy sources, the lake system and the plants, to optimise our uses of energy. Very importantly, it includes our 660kW wind turbine,” Dufaur said.
“The solution Vector has created for Dominion Salt provides sustainability and resilience benefits to the salt producer,” said Vector’s group general manager for development, Brian Ryan.
“The Tesla Powerpack will help with peak shaving and load management while ‘firming or smoothing’ the often-intermittent energy generated by wind turbines.
“The addition of a 250kW battery storage system, storing up to 570kW-hours of energy, will allow Dominion Salt to maximise the use of its wind turbine and store any excess generation for use at other times,” he said.
“The control system, built specifically for Dominion Salt, will be remotely monitored, 24/7, to ensure it’s running optimally.”
Ryan said the new wind and battery system – at the intersection of technology and sustainability – offered viable alternatives to businesses with both green and commercial benefits.
He said Vector was pursuing other opportunities in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands to deploy both on-grid and off-grid battery storage systems.