South Australia will be the world’s largest host of batteries with features that support an all-renewable power grid.
AGL, the kingpin of Australian energy retailer, is 250 megawatts of the first $ 180 million ($ 130 million) of planned 850 MW nationwide battery deployment by Finnish manufacturer Baltila. (MW) Announced to lead the construction of grid batteries.
The battery will be built right next to AGL’s 1,040 MW gas-fired power plant on Torrens Island, Adelaide, South Australia’s largest power plant. The power plant is now being phased out as it becomes uneconomical to have a dilapidated system floating around.
“Torren’s Island has played a key role in the state’s energy generation for decades. Our plan ensures that the site’s legacy continues with smart and sustainable technology.” Markus Brokhof, Chief Operating Officer of AGL Media release..
The battery also has a storage capacity of 250 megawatt hours (MWh). This means that the station can operate for an hour with a maximum output of 250 MW.
However, the project includes space that can expand up to 1,000 MWh of storage, which could instead run the battery for up to 4 hours.
“This grid-scale battery supports South Australia’s energy transition and provides essential capacity when renewable energy generation is affected or in high demand,” said Brokhhof.
In South Australia, extreme weather has cut off one of the state’s main sources of electricity, the wind farm, from the grid, causing a chain reaction that inevitably resulted in a power outage of 850,000 state residents. We faced an energy security shock in 2016. ..
AGL announced that Australia’s Energy Security Commission has overhauled the country’s grid infrastructure as the shift to the sun and wind, where Australians are unlikely to face power outages and rising prices. It takes place after warning the government that it is essential.
However, one of the key points made by the Board outlined that the redesign requires a way to maintain the grid frequency.
What is the grid frequency? What does the AGL battery have to do with it?
AGL batteries can support grids made up of 100% renewable energy by using dedicated software that helps maintain the grid’s 50 Hz frequency, which declines as power demand increases. ..
A grid system expert and engineering professor at the University of Melbourne’s Iven Mareels explained that coal, gas, or hydropower generators typically performed the important task of synchronizing the grid at 50Hz.
“All the power of the wire is synchronized at exactly the same frequency anywhere in the grid,” Marilles told The Epoch Times. “It’s really important. Without it, it won’t work.”
If the number is well below 50Hz, the consumer will be disconnected in an attempt to return the frequency to normal, resulting in a partial power outage.
However, there is no mechanism for maintaining grid frequencies in solar, wind, and battery systems.
Coal, gas and hydroelectric generators are supported by turbines that rotate at 50 revolutions per second, or 50 Hz.
The battery, on the other hand, uses an “inverter” to connect to the grid and convert direct current (DC) output to 50 Hz alternating current (AC) on the grid.
According to Marilles, this process is usually done by matching the frequencies of the grid. But as the country moves away from coal and gas generators, the question arises of who sets the frequency in the first place.
“Inverters can be“ slaves ”to the grid,” Mareels said. “The question is, if you remove all these big machines, who is your boss?”
AGL grid-forming batteries, on the other hand, use complex software to handle this exact problem and try to keep the grid frequency close to 50Hz.
Can Batteries Support Australia’s Rapid Renewable Energy Deployment?
Despite promoting lithium battery storage alongside renewable energy, Marilles said technology is inadequate to support Australia’s transition to increased wind and solar power. ..
Marilles explained that the problem was that too much battery was needed to provide backup power for a reasonable period of time.
“They have a role to play, but it’s not a big grid,” Marilles said. “You can’t build enough batteries to store for the grid.”
Manufactured by Tesla and costing about $ 172 million, South Australia’s first large battery now delivers 150 MW with 185 MWh of storage. In other words, it can output for up to 74 minutes.
Also, AGL’s new 250 MW, 250 MWh battery will only work for an hour.
Instead, Marilles suggested that Australia’s path to energy security lies in pumped-storage power generation, which uses huge reservoirs as a way to store energy.
“For large, large-scale storage, we always put money in the water before putting it in the battery,” says Marilles.
Snowy Hydro, an Australian Government-owned power generation and retailer, is currently constructing Snowy 2.0, a 2,000 MW, 350,000 MWh pumped storage power system that can operate for up to 75 hours.
The project is estimated to cost between $ 3.8 billion and $ 4.5 billion (25 times more than AGL’s new battery), but with 1,400 times more storage capacity.
In addition, Lithium is a limited and finite resource, so lithium-based batteries are “not as renewable as people think,” Mareels said.