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S.A. government eyeing world-first gas plus battery storage units

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South Australia’s plans to install a 250MW gas peaking plant is not what it seems: it now appears the government is looking to install world- first technology that combines gas-fired power with battery storage, a move that could help reshape the state’s energy market.

Energy minister Tom Koutsantonis dropped some hints of what he was looking at in Tuesday’s press conference. (RenewEconomy didn’t pick it up at the time because we had ducked out to talk to ABC Radio on the breaking news of the South Australia energy plan).

Koutsantonis had talked of a gas generator and battery storage, and it was assumed he was talking about the seperate tenders – the peaking gas plant and the 100MW battery storage.

But it turns out Koutsantonis was talking about a gas turbine that has a battery storage unit attached, which means that the turbine can spin without burning fuel – rather like a jet engine on the runway – and can provide instantaneous response to grid faults.

Who has such technology? As far as we can tell, only GE, which announced the “world’s first battery storage & gas turbine hybrid” with Los Angeles-based utility Southern California Edison last October.

GE current

GE has developed a product it calls the LM6000 Hybrid EGT (an artist rendition above). It includes a 10MW battery energy storage system, made by GE’s own battery storage offshoot Current, paired with an existing 50MW gas turbine, also made by GE, and known as an LM6000.

Such a system would allow South Australia to install up to 5 such units to meet its targeted 250MW, resulting in an extra 50MW of instant response battery storage spread across the grid, ensuring grid stability, and with 250MW of emergency capacity in case of a shortfall, or more baseload generators tripping.

This, along with the separate 100MW battery storage tender, is something of a game-changer for the energy market and marks a new way of thinking.

The idea of a peaking gas plant was criticised – we questioned why in this story: SA Power: Why so much gas when storage is so cheap – because it was seen as expensive and emissions intensive.

This technology will add instant response and smarts, and means that the state will not be held to ransom by existing players who have charged a fortune for grid stability because they control the market.

The addition of battery storage allow the turbine to operate in standby mode without using fuel and enables immediate response to changing energy dispatch needs.

GE, in its brochures, says that by eliminating the need to constantly run the turbines at minimum loads to maintain spinning reserves, the LM6000 Hybrid EGT will save fuel, reduce maintenance costs and cut down on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

That’s pretty much what Koutsantonis told the media on Tuesday. “Basically, having a battery alongside this generator, turning the blades, gives inertia into the market …. it’s a service it can offer without burning gas.”

He too described it as a jet engine, and he was right: the LM6000 gas turbine is actually derived from the GE commercial CF6-80C2 aircraft engine.

In all, the machine can provide 50MW of GHG-free spinning reserve, flexible capacity, and peaking energy; 25 MW of high-quality regulation; and 10 MVA of reactive voltage support and primary frequency response when not online.

The GE unit was designed specifically to meet with California’s energy plan, which calls for 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and may aim for 100 per cent by 2045.

Officials at Current and SCE say the cost is confidential but SoCal vice president Colin Cushnie told the San Diego Tribune last October, “based on our economic analysis, we believe that the market value we will get from operating these energy storage devices will cover the costs of the purchases.”

It’s likely, then, that the S.A. government wants five of these machines scattered strategically around the state, to make sure there is the instantaneous reaction to grid faults, and peak demand when it is needed. The key point here is on flexibility, and to help fill in the gaps of wind and solar.

Baseload was not sought. When asked by reporters why the government didn’t keep the Northern brown coal generator on line, Koutsantonis said it simply couldn’t deliver the services required. It couldn’t match the cost, the emissions, or the flexibility or reactive power.

This is important information for potential bidders for both the gas generator and the 100MW battery storage tender. Unless tenderers have a similar product, then they might as well give up now.

For the battery storage tenderers, which include local and international players, the presence of another 50MW of battery storage could have a significant impact on the numbers they are crunching.

It may also explain why the government is not choosing to “lease” a unit as we suggested the other day, and why the $360 million cited in the energy plan is higher than normal for a peaking gas plant.

The October press release from GE said that the battery energy storage system was expected to be installed and operational by the end of 2016, and the updated and integrated turbine controls were scheduled to be operational in early 2017. We’re trying to check out how that all went.

   

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  • Keith

    Why use gas?

    There are proposals for dispatchable power using solarPV plus battery offerings from Australian companies ZEN Energy and the Lyon Group.http://seekingalpha.com/article/4055805-teslas-grid-scale-battery-offering-south-australia-meets-competition-presents-upside

    Why choose a fossil fuel offering, that has fuel supply risks, when it can be done with renewable energy plus batteries?

    • humanitarian solar

      Isn’t the idea of the unit that the battery is the backup for the renewable energy and in turn the gas is the battery backups backup?

      • solarguy

        Yep, I believe you have the right idea.

      • Keith

        Hi humanitarian,

        Why not solar PV instead of gas to provide the backup backup power? The plan isn’t to run the gas all the time, so it is no different to the sun going out at night.

        The point is that the world (including Australia) has signed up to exit fossil fuels as soon as practicable, through the Paris climate agreement. Why delay this process when you don’t need to?

        Every bit of CO2 put into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels is another nail in the coffin of the Great Barrier Reef.

        • humanitarian solar

          Keith hopefully solar and wind will be creating power curves overlapping sufficiently that the battery backup can be modestly sized and then the gas backup for the battery backup would be in turn needed even less. The gas might only be needed in a cold still night in winter, when an interconnector fault has taken snowy hydro off the SA network for example.

          • Keith

            Hi humanitarian,

            I know that a fossil fuel source is a security blanket for many Australians, but recent events in South Australia show that fossil fuel provision isn’t perfect.

            I think it is time to let go of it.

            A small ocean focused pumped hydro project (with a turkey-nest dam at the top of a cliff) might be another backup solution. Apparently 6 sites have been identified in South Australia.

          • humanitarian solar

            I agree our culture probably has entrenched anxiety around supply offset by fossil fuel as security blanket. It is hard moving forward with these fears of letting go of our past security. Often engineers think the problem is techical when it often appears personal. With the technology I think your raising important nuances on choice of storage related to cost, scale and environmental impact.

          • Keith

            Hi humanitarian,

            Giles has shown recently that fossil fuels don’t necessarily provide the security blanket that many think they do. http://reneweconomy.com.au/baseload-gas-failure-nearly-pushed-s-a-into-another-system-black-72621/

          • Keith

            Hi humanitarian,

            Giles has shown recently that fossil fuels don’t necessarily provide the security blanket that many think they do. http://reneweconomy.com.au/baseload-gas-failure-nearly-pushed-s-a-into-another-system-black-72621/

          • humanitarian solar

            We’d hope the system is setup so the gas is specifically for emergencies and not part of a regular duty cycle. All other grid wide (and presently accessible) renewable energy should already be online supplying loads before the gas is brought online – otherwise we’d be fracking land for no purpose.

          • solarguy

            Your right about letting go of FF, but these turbines could be run on biogas. Whole different ball game!

        • Alex Clabburn

          I agree with you and used to think the exact same way but living in northern Europe where we rely on gas for heating as well as electricity supply, it’s not something we can realistically get away from any time soon. Part of the solution for us is likely to hinge on new ways to produce synthetic natural gas, created using surplus renewable electricity in the summer, that we can store and feed straight into the existing gas network in the winter. Innovations like this could be a vital missing piece of the puzzle for us.

    • Why use gas? Well, they say that because government owned, they don’t want to enter the wholesale market – although they prepared to enter the FCAS market, where consumers are being ripped off. So i see it as a balance. Gas doesn’t need to be switched on if not needed – solar and wind would produce and affect wholesale markets. And this kills two birds with one stone – acts as emergency back-up if case private sector doesn’t fire up, keeps lid on FCAS market, and possibly by its mere presence, the wholesale market. And adds distributed storage. Hang on, that’s four birds!

      • Keith

        Hi Giles,

        By spending only some of the $350 million proposed for new gas capacity on supporting the ZEN Energy and Lyon Group solar PV/battery projects, the SA Government would save money and still have the energy security. They might even have enough spare cash to build a small pumped hydro facility too!!

        Am I missing something here? The only “downside” is that the SA Government doesn’t build an asset to become stranded.

        • Yep, agree with you, and that was the reason for my article the other day. This puts a slightly different complexion on it, at least it moving forward on technology. Their reasoning is that they don’t trust the private sector right now – i can understand why – and they want a quick fix. FCAS market not yet ready, and with the AEMC who knows when that will be, so private players can’t yet play in that market. I’m not justifying that – just trying to follow their logic.

      • George Darroch

        I think this will be the last such generator, before the pumped seawater and pumped Snowy schemes come to fruition.

        • humanitarian solar

          Then company goes broke leaving no parts or service.

          • George Darroch

            The GE CF6 is among the most common aircraft engines in the world. Parts and technical support will continue to be available for decades.

          • humanitarian solar

            Oh that’s a relief for the South Australians. Sorry for that burst of negativity.

          • Andy Saunders

            Yeah, you’d be pretty brave thinking the world’s largest industrial manufacturer (and probably the most diverse) would go bankrupt. If you insist, I’m sure you can trade their debt futures against some of the world’s largest financial institutions. like I said, brave.

      • stalga

        Bird strike.

      • stalga

        Bird strike.

      • humanitarian solar

        Maybe it won’t provide distributed storage because the so called storage may only be big enough to guarantee the turbine keeps spinning at the required frequency until gas can take over spinning the turbine. Just guessing cause seems a secret exactly how it works. We also couldn’t say it’s distributed storage, if it’s never filled with renewable energy. So it may be simply a faster responding gas generator, even just mechanical operation like a starter motor in a car spins an engine before fuel takes over. It might normally spin with minimal gas input without a load and then rely on like a starter motor to ensure it keeps spinning even if an external frequency drop tended to slow its inertia. Hence may not even have an inverter to produce AC directly from it’s battery, as that would seem expensive just for FCAS with no renewable energy being fed to what might be a relatively small battery anyway. So the whole system could merely be designed to make fossil fuel have a fast frequency response and nothing more.

  • humanitarian solar

    Fantastic the SA government has adopted the distributed paradigm of storage by focusing storage around their regions rather than merely relying one large centralised project. This could be the first grid primarily designed and focused on servicing regional communities. The extent their risk assessment is done well, will help protect their most vulnerable regional centers from natural disasters and the failure of broader distribution networks. If local damage still occurs, that damage will be less likely to result in cascading failures throught other regional areas. It appears SA is on the path for a world class grid, with distributed generation and distributed storage situated in the most resilient distribution network. With the technology of the particular gas plus battery storage energy units, it’s getting so technical into balancing efficiencies and supplying specific power needs, it would be great to hear from others in that field like professor Ross Garnaut

    • Michael James

      Giles P. wrote:

      which means that the turbine can spin without burning fuel – rather like a jet engine on the runway

      I read this yesterday and thought that I must have been too tired and lazy of mind to take it in, so I left it to today when I was sure its significance would hit me with a “doh”! But it hasn’t. It is written in English and I even understand each phrase but for the life of me I cannot understand what it is trying to say. “A turbine can spin” without burning fuel … but for how long? And does this imply that a standard peaking gas turbine is consuming gas all the time even if only called upon for 30 minutes work each day? OK, but surely the difference in gas consumption is pretty tiny (and I would have thought a small auxilliary electric motor would be used to keep things in motion without doing work) as is usually done for the generator rotors which are never allowed to rest.

      I have no real idea about jet engines on runways; am I to believe they are not consuming avgas while waiting in the queue at the end of the runway prior to takeoff? Sure, they’re idling so not consuming huge amounts but …

      How is this really much different to a 250MW OCGT other than an implied better efficiency. It is still going to consume almost the same amount of gas for the same amount of electricity produced (give or take what? 5%). It’s costing $360 million. The fact that it has an associated 10MW battery system (apparently sodium-sulfur? which b.t.w. has a 6% parasitic load just to keep it at operational temperature 24/7) doesn’t seem to make any real difference to having a bigger (Zen or Tesla-style) battery installation somewhere else on the grid. (I understand that it is five separate OCGTs plus batteries distributed around the grid that gives advantages but still….)

      Grateful if someone can explain it to me. (Believe it or not I have a science PhD. but am perfectly willing to admit I have missed the bleedin’ obvious.)

      • humanitarian solar

        Im an electronics tech with degrees in other fields. I share your concerns, perhaps politicians are being baffled with BS. I think we need equipment diagrams and tech specs or an honest description from someone who knows the technology. The less that comes forward, with that openness, honesty and transparency around all decision making processes, the more sceptical im inclined to be. I’m having second thoughts too, not all is what it appears and any sense of greater efficiency could be exagerated by marketing spin.

      • George Michaelson

        The idea as I understand it, is that the unit does NOT spin in standby mode, and (those other) people have misunderstood it, and applied the concept of ‘standby’ to imply spinning-ready. The idea is, that its battery is there to provide instantaneous short term power, during the ramp up of the turbine to take load. The system as a whole is ‘instant-on’ but only if you consider the battery+turbine as one system. Ramp up time for a turbine from idle to full load at this scale, is comparable to jet-engine start times, because thats what it is: a variant GE turbine as sold for marine and aircraft engine use.

        • Michael James

          the unit does NOT spin in standby mode,

          Yes, that is what it said in plain English, but my response remains the same: so what? Spinning does not (to me) imply consuming huge amounts of energy (gas or whatever) since it is not driving a load (the generator). The energy to keep these giant turbines spinning (once disengaged from the generator) is relatively trivial. Like (exactly like) a spinning top. If it is not trivial then no one (GE or this article or any article on this system) has said what savings it represents. (And there has to be a certain amount of what it gains on the not-spinning, it loses on the roundabout, ie. it has to restart from zero to get it spinning.)

          As to the benefit of its modest battery component, I understand. Its the difference between the number 2 160MW gas turbine of Pelican Point not being kept in “standby” which is to say actually spinning (without a load) and thus ready for instant response, versus the 2 hours or whatever it takes to get it into that standby mode from a total shutdown position. (Of course this is not to confuse the actual situation in which its standby mode was irrelevant: the owners of Pelican Point simply didn’t want to start it up because they had previously sold their gas contracts to make short-term profits–because spot prices of gas have gone into the stratosphere–and didn’t want to cancel some of that profit by having to buy the gas back at those same, or feasibly even higher, spot prices).

          But you’d still still be using essentially the same amount of gas when you needed power. I suppose the argument that might have appealed to the SA bean-counters is that since these 5x50MW plants are intended to be idle 95% of the time (!), the savings (not specified) over a standard OCGT are greater than if you were using them, say, once a day as standard peaking plants.

          In any case $360m is buying only 50MW(h?) of battery storage (as part of the OCGT package) but it could buy a heck of a lot more which would bring much more FCAS to the grid.

          In other words, I remain sceptical that this isn’t a pretty marginal selling-point blown up by GE spin (sic). I don’t reckon these things will ever be installed in SA. We should at least wait to see how southern California fares with them. And CA is a vastly bigger grid and they are trying all manner of strategies including big(ish) battery installations, which we also need to wait and see how they fare (the northern summer will be upon them soon which will test-stress them).

      • Charles Hunter
        • Michael James

          I’ve seen that and it doesn’t explain in any more (relevant) detail.

          I made a reply to George Michaelson and it was posted this afternoon (Sunday) but now (Sunday night) it has disappeared!
          My interpretation is that this is marginally more efficient (by an unspecified amount–no where in this article or in the GE PR) than standard OCGT because it is not kept spinning (note, normal OCGT is kept spinning though not with a load, ie. the generator, in standby mode so it can be launched extremely quickly into full power mode). It can do this simply because the GE system initially provides an instant response via the associated battery storage while the turbine starts from cold (ie. in non-spinning mode, ie. not in real “standby”).
          But of course when the gas turbine is running it is consuming the same amount of gas as any other OCGT system per output. It is not going to save much on gas consumed per output but can provide a more responsive, more stable grid.

          I remain unconvinced this “fast response” system is really something SA should be installing at this time, particularly $360m worth which would buy an awful lot of pure battery storage which can provide even more instant response and FCAS to the grid.

          • Charles Hunter

            Hi Michael,

            I’ve also noticed my own posts seemingly disappearing and reappearing at random. I thought I simply couldn’t browse and chew gum simultaneously but maybe it’s a bug in Disqus.

            If the idea is that these new generators will be turned on most of the time then I agree with you. They’ll burn gas at similar rates and their only real contribution will be frequency services.

            Here’s my possibly rose-coloured-view take on the proposal. Right now, SA is getting sufficient power from a variety of sources like wind, solar, Torrens Island, and the inter-connector. If you could wave a magic wand and install all five of these new OCGT systems *today*, you would not actually *have* to burn any gas *today* because the status quo in terms of having adequate supply from the existing generators would still hold. Yes/no?

            However, the mere presence of the new generators and the risk that they *might* get turned on if the spot price went too high or other evidence of market gaming emerged, might well keep bids within a sensible range.

            Scenario. Assume the forecast is for a nice hot summer’s day and further assume that modelling suggests that the existing generators will be insufficient to sustain the predicted load. With existing peaking systems, you have to make the “turn on” decision ahead of time and burn gas so you can be ready when the predicted peak arrives – yes? With these new systems, the idea seems to be that you can leave the decision until much much later. If I’m reading it right, you can leave the decision until the peak actually arrives, satisfying it first from batteries and then from the gas as the turbine comes to speed. If the peak demand turns out to be lower than forecast, or if the peak is as forecast but you’re getting more wind than you predicted, you might not actually have to burn gas.

            Scenario. Assume the forecast is for a nice warm summer’s day but further assume that modelling says that existing supplies will be adequate so no peaking resources will be needed. Nobody tells any peaking plants to be ready. Turns out there’s a bug in the spreadsheet and an unexpected peak arrives. One or more of these new systems fires up and supplies the unexpected load (sort of forecast-agnostic).

            Scenario. For whatever combination of reasons, SA finds itself without appropriate FCAS and the whole grid turns to custard. That shouldn’t happen with these new systems in place because they’ll be providing these services non-stop (and presumably at a very reasonable price). I’m guessing the new generators will also be located strategically around the state (eg Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Adelaide, Tailem Bend) so even in a situation where towers have been torn down by high winds, there will still be frequency services so long as there are viable electrical paths. Plus, to the extent that actual power generation is needed in such conditions, these new generators can fire up and provide that too.

            Aside from unusual conditions, how I’m reading the rationale for these new generators is that they answer the perennial question so favoured by the base-load crowd of “what happens if the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow, and the solar-thermal has gone cold, and the pumped hydro has run dry, and the {insert your choice of intermittent renewable here} isn’t providing juice, and all your battery farms have discharged?” That’s when you would actually burn gas.

            It’s the fossil-fuel backup of last resort, to (hopefully) acres and acres of battery backups, to the nirvana of 100% renewables as your primary sources. Success should not be measured by how much power these new generators produce over their lifetimes but by how much gas they do NOT burn.

            I reckon these new generators are best viewed as an insurance policy. Like all insurance policies, you pay the premium while hoping you’ll never have to make a claim. Yes, there will always be some people (like Leaders of Oppositions) who will look back 5, 10, 20 years down the track and assert that the premiums were a waste of money because they never had their house burn down, never wrote off a car, and didn’t have to have a heart transplant. I see no point in arguing with people who think like that. They’re like climate-change deniers. They’ll stick to their opinions no matter the evidence.

            If these new generators are installed and only ever provide FCAS via their batteries, I’ll call that “job done”. It their mere presence reduces the amount of market gaming and price volatility, I’ll call that “job done”. If there’s exactly one more September 2016 in the next ten years and that’s the only time they fire up to keep the lights on anywhere there’s a viable electrical path, I’ll call that “job done”. If we look back in 20 years and observe that they never actually burned a single joule of gas, I’ll call that both “job done” and a win for the environment. It’ll also have been incredibly efficient.

      • Ben

        Yep. I think they should have written it as “spinning reserve” as in this is the service that the batteries and power electronics will contribute. It’s definitely a case of confused politician describeing it as “basically a a battery alongside… turning the blades”. – No, I don’t think so.

  • solarguy

    Giles, that certainly makes things a bit clearer. But I think the battery will provide the instant response until the gas turbine starts up and replenish the battery. The model of these turbines being distributed makes it even easier to uses stored biogas as they could be placed close to sewage treatment plants and their bio digesters.

    Are you getting the idea Tom?

  • Great follow up Giles. If I understand correctly, they will run standard OCGT for a few hours, store some of the energy in batteries and then can spin the turbine using stored energy to provide ancillary services?

    I’d love to see a David Leitch business case analysis of this asset!

    Cheers.

    Dave P.

    • why charge that up with the gas turbine. way too expensive, when you can power up when wind blowing.

    • humanitarian solar

      Why run gas to store energy in a battery when the sun reliably rises each day? Wind? No way it’s designed like that. The turbine might be some kind of inertia that happens to burn gas when rarely needed though don’t know why because inverters dont need inertia to produce reliable frequency.

  • Rob

    Thanks for clarifying that Giles. Ultimately though we have to stop mining and using gas. The sooner the better.

  • Brunel

    Not sure about GE. In 2013 I read about their sodium-ion batteries in the Time magazine cover story about manufacturing making a comeback in USA:

    http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,20130422,00.html

    GE would not mention the price in 2013 either but just said “these batteries are better/cheaper than lead acid batteries for off-grid mobile phone towers”.

    Lithium-ion has turned out to be cheaper than sodium-ion.

    Now GE is refusing to give the price of these 50 MW power stations, while transparent Tesla said on 1 May 2015 508pm UTC:

    • Mark Roest

      Maybe that mention of $360M is a hint, maybe not. But consider the overall costs of five 50MWh batteries (which, if Tesla, probably are more than 50MW, and cost $12,500,000 per set) and five 10MWh solar farms (at $6,000,000 per set) dedicated to keeping them topped up or better yet, using their truly-spare capacity to reverse-game the wholesale market — enter it whenever prices start to creep up, just enough to drive the prices back down, as well as actually stabilizing / maintaining the grid. 5 x $12,500,000 = $62,500,000, and 5 x $6,000,000 = $72,000,000; $62,5M + $72M = $134.5M, divided by $360M = 37.36%!!! In other words, the whole battery and solar system would cost less than 38% of the gas and battery system, BEFORE CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR THE FUEL FOR THE GAS TURBINE!!! AND, BEFORE THE FACT THAT IT CAN BE USED TO HOLD AND DRIVE WHOLESALE ELECTRICITY PRICES DOWN FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE CUSTOMERS / CITIZENS / SOCIETY, PROBABLY SAVING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OVER ITS LIFETIME!

      How about digging up comparables for the GE kit, and spreading the word far and fast that this should be rebid, inviting Tesla, as it does not begin to compare with the value from batteries and solar, at now-current prices!

  • Ray Miller

    We need more of this thinking, modular, distributed, efficient, easy to integrate more renewables and providing multiple grid support services. Well done Jay and his team. Rocky Mountain Institute has been pushing these concepts for over two decades and it has taken SA to show how out of date the current operation and structure of the NEM is.

  • So, one new piece of info – just been told someone doing something very similar with different battery but same GE engines in W.A. all very hush hush apparently, but looks like will be more than one bidder.

  • Gary Rowbottom

    Thanks for the info Giles. I thought Koutsantonis mentioned inertia always available and I couldn’t work that out based on the GT set ups I know a little of – I followed up on the aero-derivative term he used which also drew me to GE offerings, but based on the 250 MW (and no mention of multi-unit in the am briefing I was at) that led to a different GE offering – which still required 2 of GE’s standard units of the best match I could find in a quick search. As you say makes more sense now. Need to remember too, TIPS A is 50 yrs old (480 MW) and TIPS B (41 years old, 800 MW). Having some built generation creates some options to allow phasing those out less traumatic to the system than when Northern Power Station was thrown under the bus.

  • Andrew Woodroffe

    So, spinning inertia of traditional generation provides the resistance to change on the grid and inverters/batteries provide the response, very quick response to change on the grid . . .

  • Gustav Ober

    ” which means that the turbine can spin without burning fuel – rather like a jet engine on the runway”… Wow… jet engines on the runway burn fuel, they are running a “ground idle” power setting… Just like a car stuck in traffic with the engine idling…

    What the battery in this system allows is to stop the gas turbine so it not run at low power where they are not efficient.

    The battery takes the load when the demand low, when the demand get high the gas turbine is started, it takes 5 min for the gas turbine to reach full power during which the batteries take up the slack…

    The batteries don’t keep the turbine spinning, just like a car starter doesn’t keep a car engine spinning at idle

  • Shane White

    How sensible is it to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on new fossil fuelled infrastructure during a climate emergency?

    What study was done of options to improve our energy system, and by whom? What were the priorities?

    Does the SA state government have any energy plan? The only energy plan I’m aware of is to support the Federal government extract as much oil as possible out of the Bight, and to frack :
    TomK: “Very disappointed with Victoria’s decision to ban unconventional gas. However that offers large opportunities for SA Oil & Gas explorers.”
    http://indaily.com.au/news/2016/08/30/come-to-sa-koutsantonis-tells-gas-companies-after-vic-fracking-ban/

    All I see is a state government pursuing fossil fuels and not recognising any form of climate emergency.

  • humanitarian solar

    I’m guessing the gas plus battery storage unit functuons exactly the same as a hybrid car, using a relatively small efficient engine with a battery and electric motor for assistance getting up hills – in this application coming online quickly with a grid struggling to maintain frequency, first with battery, then gas assistance.

  • humanitarian solar

    A Better Way: for a while the world went through the “hybrid” stage where engineers wanted to make fossil fuel engines more efficient by adding an electric motor, powered by a deep cycle battery, to enhance performance in a variety of ways. In cars this meant turning off fossil fuel engines at traffic lights and slow traffic and using the electric motor to assist a relatively small fossil fuel motor with acceleration. The hybrid vehicle was a success and for a while this worked well. Next batteries got cheaper and electric motors got more powerful, so engineers transitioned to a fully electric vehicle with the wheels only driven by the electric motor. This saved cost by eliminating the fossil fuel motor drivetrain and if range anxiety was still an issue, a small generator could be thrown in the boot. A similar development happened in the evoution of boats and houses. People wanted to run the generator less because they are noisy, smelly and expensive, and use battery inverters more for longer. Small wind turbines and solar panels were developed, trickling charge into the battery for yachts and houses. Renewable energy progressed and people got fed up with manually starting the fossil fuel generator, so smart software got added to the inverter to sense a low battery voltage and automatically turn on the generator, for infrequent high power use or bad weather. This is where we’re at with off-grid houses and yachts. When the inverter senses it doesn’t have a sufficiently charged battery to produce AC, it asks for help by switching on a generator to help supply the AC load while also charging the battery. This is probably what ZEN energy and Lyon Solar do, while GE appear located back in the hybrid era, trying to make a unit based upon mechanical operation be as fast responding as a battery inverter. If this is so and i were the SA government, I’d just accept evolution and what everyone else is doing and transition from hybrid to full electric just retaining fossil fuel to charge a modern decent sized battery for rare weather events. There’s little use being misled that dressed up fossil fuel engines can be efficient and cost effective because they all run on fossil fuel which needs to be dug up and transported and they all remain troublesome by remaining noisy, smelly, dirty, grinding away parts that continually need oiling, maintaining and rebuilding. Electrons merely need electric fields, hence have simpler needs, are faster than mechanical parts and more responsive to changing grid conditions, which we definitely need because there’s so many old antiquated machines left on the grid, so its best not to buy more no matter how fast and responsive the sales person claims the new machine is.

  • humanitarian solar

    Hybrid? A Better Way: for a while the world went through the “hybrid” stage where engineers wanted to make fossil fuel engines more efficient by adding an electric motor, powered by a deep cycle battery, to enhance performance in a variety of ways. In cars this meant turning off fossil fuel engines at traffic lights and slow traffic, and using the electric motor to assist a relatively small fossil fuel motor with acceleration. The hybrid vehicle was a success and for a while this worked well. Next batteries got cheaper and electric motors got more powerful, so engineers transitioned to a fully electric vehicle with only the wheels driven by the electric motor. This saved cost by eliminating the fossil fuel motor drivetrain and if range anxiety was still an issue, a small generator could be thrown in the boot. A similar development happened in the evoution of boats and houses. People wanted to run their generator less because they are noisy, smelly and expensive, and instead use battery inverters to supply more of their power. Small wind turbines and solar panels were developed, trickling charge into the battery for yachts and houses. Renewable energy progressed and people got fed up with manually starting their generator, so smart software got added to the inverter to automatically turn on the generator, typically for infrequent high power use or bad weather. This is where we’re at with off-grid houses and yachts. When the inverter senses it doesn’t have a sufficiently charged battery to produce AC, it asks for help by switching on a generator to help supply the AC load while also charging the battery. This is probably what ZEN energy and Lyon Solar do, while GE appear located back in the “hybrid” era. For these reasons, battery storage and a battery inverter will likely be a superior configuration for providing a faster and more cost effective FCAS.