South Australia only looking for one hour of battery storage | RenewEconomy

South Australia only looking for one hour of battery storage

South Australia looking for only one hour of battery storage, in decision that may rule out some battery storage technologies.


The South Australia battery storage tender is looking for only one hour of battery storage, in a decision that would appear to rule out some battery storage technologies that would potentially offer longer storage options.

In its expressions of interest documents, the government says it is looking for 100MW/100MWh of battery storage, effectively meaning that it want 100MW of capacity with one hour storage – although some configurations may provide less capacity over a longer time frame.

It says this can be supplied through multiple single or multi sites, but the minimum battery storage capacity at each site is 25 MW/25MWh. EOI for battery storage capacity of less than 100MW/100MWh will also be accepted, it says.


The battery storage tender, among the largest in the world, is attracting major interest in Australia and overseas, including the likes of Tesla, Kokam, LG Chem, Zen Energy, Lyon Solar, Carnegie and VSun, and from Adelaide-based silicon storage proponent 1414.

But some technologies – such as the vanadium redox batteries proposed by Carnegie, VSun and others, may not be suited for the specifications of the South Australia offer. Victoria, for instance, is seeking 20MW/80MWh – effectively four hours of storage – in the first part of its 100MW tender.

The tender is looking for indicative project costs and locations, and how the proposed installation could help reduce wholesale market and FCAS prices and volatility, and add to network security and reliability.

Final proposals are due March 31, with the state moving to a formal tender after that and planning to have the facilities installed by summer.


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  1. humanitarian solar 4 years ago

    In problems with the grid, my inverter can produce a nominal 2500W for 2 hours from it’s battery. In practice this means cruising through daytime outages because there’s more than enough solar power supplying the load directly. When there is an outage at night (no solar), the battery discharges more significantly towards it’s healthy limit of 50% for an old generation lead acid battery. With SA, I’d imagine they’ll have more unpredictability from fossil fuel generators, so the battery storage would be least challenged when renewable energy is strong and more challenged the more there is a deficit of renewable energy, draining the battery faster. Though if the battery is for FCAS wouldn’t an hour be plenty of time for all the generators on the network to work out who is supplying what portion of the load and reboot anything that’s fallen over? Is this their intention?

    • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

      With the battery storage in place smoothing and buffering renewable energy, will there be times of the day or year SA has zero fuel costs?

    • trackdaze 4 years ago

      Probably give them enough time to fire up the 5 50Mw lm6000 jet engines for emergency or alternatively let the network otherwise settle.

  2. humanitarian solar 4 years ago

    With the battery storage in place smoothing and buffering renewable energy, will there be times of the day or year SA has zero fuel costs? To move the national discussion forward past erroneous fears of lack of sychronous supply or lack of system inertia, i think we need to establish there are periods of time, no matter how small, where SA functions with zero fossil fuel inputs into the wholesale market. That would demonstrate renewable generators and the battery storage, can provide reliable frequency. Once this fact is established, fear will be replaced with the motivation to whole heartedly embrace renewable generators and storage.

    • Jon 4 years ago

      This wont happen with the proposed Energy Security Target in place. It will mean a third more synchronous generation in the system by 2025, which will mean existing generators will need to run more and most likely new gas fired generators will need to be built. Can’t understand why they didn’t focus on inertia rather than synchronous generation.

      • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

        So what you’re saying is for those times SA has enough wind and sun to power the state, despite the 100MW/100MWh FCAS battery storage being in place (an hour of grace) and the lm6000 gas turbines shipped and dropped in place ready for rapidly firing up, plus the existing gas fired generators that can be brought online when wind and solar is insufficient – that there would need to be other gas fired generators built? Or are you referring to the lm6000 gas turbines? With inertia, it appears to me they are supporting traditional generators with their inability to respond quickly to rapid changes in the load (due to their inertia) by installing 100MW inverter/battery storage which can respond quickly to rapid changes in the load (rather than installing even more inertia). So inertia is a sword that cuts both ways and takes allot of fuel to keep it spinning, whereas electrons happily sit in a battery until needed and are very fast to respond. All in all, the 100MW/100MWh battery storage appears to deal with problems with “inertia” and they also appear to be adding “synchronous generation” with the lm6000 rapid start up gas turbines. That’s how I understand it.

        • Jon 4 years ago

          Since the blackout the SA market has been constrained to ensure that at least 2 synchronous units are running in the state at all times. This is an “inertia constraint” put in place by AEMO on the interconnector.
          The SA Govt in their Energy Plan has gone a step further by planning to bring in the Energy Security Target (EST), which is in addition to the aero-derivative turbines and the 100MW/100MWh battery. It is planned to be in place by July 2017 and the govt has stated they will require energy retailers to purchase at least 4500GWh of energy from “synchronous” generators each year, rising to 6500GWh by 2025. At this point in time this energy can only come from gas fired power stations. The result may be that the extra synchronous generation will crowd out new renewables, thereby limiting investement in new renewable projects.

          • humanitarian solar 4 years ago

            The whole synchronous discussion is a distraction from just adding storage to the grid and then having baseload renewables. Renewables powering inverters don’t have the inertia problem because they ramp up and down quickly. Inverters and storage could fill the role of FCAS and lop off any fast swings in demand making a more resilient grid for the remaining fossil fuel generators. Renewables and storage can be built quickly. So all this other garbage is political posturing for election.

  3. Miles Harding 4 years ago

    Only 100MWh — That’s a lot of battery!

    This looks to be a proposal that leaves a good case for pumped hydro to service larger time windows, delaying or eliminating many more starts of the gas turbines.

    For a service life point of view, starts are very hard on turbines, so getting the renewable and storage resources to the point where the turbines aren’t started on a daily bases would be beneficial for overall cost, fuel and maintenance.

    Should SA build large Pumped hydro storage, the interconnector capacity would become less important and possibly be eliminated from the required assets. No need to worry about VIC’s rotten frequency control if the switches are open.

    • Rod 4 years ago

      If they are hybrid aeodirivative one of the selling points is the storage brings the turbines up to speed then gas takes over.
      Should be a bit gentler to the blades.

  4. Gnällgubben 4 years ago

    Well they can have that with Li-ion but the batteries will last longer if they go for 4 hours instead.

  5. humanitarian solar 4 years ago

    An article on the ABC reckons the AEMC wants to increase inertia with strategies like synchronous condensers. It amazes me how we’re constantly doing downstream approaches of fixing the problems created from fossil fuel generators. The only reason we need strategies like synchronous condensers, is the fossil fuel generators aren’t fast enough to keep up with changes in the load. Batteries respond to fast changing loads. We know this from solar/storage on our properties. So why are we planning for synchronous condensers, when their main purpose has been “reactively” compensating for fossil fuel generators which are being retired anyway, when batteries are the way of the future and have multiple value streams???
    This is all a synchronous condenser does: “a synchronous condenser naturally supplies more reactive power to a low voltage and absorbs more reactive power from a high voltage”
    Pervasive distributed storage is fast response and isn’t going to have these problems. Batteries are extremely fast in milliseconds and my understanding is hydro is seconds to minutes. So how does a future grid have a problem dealing with a rapidly changing load?

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