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Alinta mulling huge battery storage in Pilbara to displace gas generation

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Alinta Energy says it is looking to invest in one of the largest single battery storage installations in the world, using it to displace the cost of gas generation in the Pilbara, in yet another sign that battery storage is becoming competitive.

Port-HedlandAlinta-Power-Station2

Alinta CEO Jeff Dimery told RenewEconomy’s Energy and Disruption conference this week that the 36MW lithium-ion storage facility (he wasn’t get able to give the metrics in terms of MWh) would be used to displace “spinning reserve” the company uses on its private network in the mining region.

Dimery says the company is running one of its major gas generators as “spinning” reserve to back up the other gas generator in case of an unexpected outage (which goes to show that it is not just wind and solar that need back-up).

That is consuming gas and costing money, which is why Alinta is now turning to battery storage. He says the system will pay for itself through gas displacement – in the same way that solar makes sense as diesel replacement – and because of its ability to respond quickly to outages.

This use of battery storage as gas-fuel displacement is an interesting development. Battery storage is already being deployed on grid scale as a cheaper alternative to grid upgrades, and many networks are looking to use battery storage as a direct replacement for poles and wires, while others – such as AGL Energy – are looking to combine battery storage to boost network security, and still others as an offset to peak demand, and to offer frequency services.

We will endeavour to provide further details of the Alinta investment when they are available.  

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  • Peter F

    Once you have the batteries and the load sharing system it is pretty much a no-brainer to add solar to further reduce the gas bill. Even on the Alinta network there is probably a case for distributing the batteries to reduce transmission losses and hence make it evn easier to connect to distributed solar resources.

  • Brunel

    It would be nice to see diesel generators in the 3rd world being replaced by batteries.

  • Analitik

    So this 36 MW battery will allow the reserve generator to be taken offline during the normal operation of the other gas generators, giving time for the reserve generator to be fired up when needed.

    Makes sense – the capacity doesn’t need to be that large since the 30MW reserve CCGT generator can probably be brought up in around half an hour. If the big 54 MW Trent generator was brought down, I presume they would cope by demand shedding.

    https://alintaenergy.com.au/about-us/power-generation/newman
    http://www.cpbcon.com.au/projects/newman-power-station/

  • I received a tip-off today that this project has been constructed and is currently operating. Time for a follow-up story?