Alice Springs is on a journey towards a renewables future and Aurecon is helping Territory Generation (TGen) lead the way with the Owen Springs Power Station and Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). Both projects with Territory Generation (TGen) are an important step in ensuring reliability in a controlled transition to renewable energy for the Northern Territory.
The implementation of these projects involved extensive engineering, complex modelling, robust project development processes and in-depth community involvement.
About 40 per cent of Alice Springs’s average daily demand is supplied by solar but this only works on sunny days. Gas engines is still the efficient way to meet their demand when solar units aren’t producing electricity.
Expansion of the Owen Springs Power Station utilises an efficient, low-emission gas-fired technology and boosts the station’s capacity to 77 MW. The expansion involved installation of 10, 4.4 MW GE Jenbacher high-efficiency gas fired spark-ignition reciprocating engines.
A big benefit of the new gas engines is they run more efficiently so less fuel will be used and they cost less to maintain.
The new 5 MW BESS was installed primarily for generation stabilisation and is one of the largest grid-connected storage solutions in Australia. Its 5 MW capacity and energy storage of 4.6 MWh (beginning of life) were determined through extensive modelling of the network, taking into consideration the impact of solar photovoltaic intermittency and various contingency events.
The modelling has determined that the cost of the battery system is expected to be recouped within four to five years due to efficiencies and savings.
The system provides a near-instantaneous response to variation in solar load, particularly during cloud cover, and will improve power generation reliability for the region by helping to smooth the output of solar power. This functionality will help enable greater expansion of Solar PV as desired by the local community.
The control system functionality and design ensure the BESS operates in concert with the Owen Springs Power Station generators to deliver an integrated solution.
These projects replace aging generators and give Alice Springs residents increased confidence in their power supply, and create high-efficiency power plants with improved economic and environmental outcomes.
Economic benefits include:
The projects are examples of technical engineering excellence both individually, but also for the fact they were delivered to operate cohesively. This enables them to function in complementary ways to provide an optimal and coherent solution.
The new equipment will better service the community’s current power usage and allow for the continued implementation of renewable energy into the Alice Springs network.