ACT adds new 24 MWh battery as it expands landfill gas generation

Image: LGI

A 12 megawatt (MW)/ 24 MWh battery will be installed at the Mugga Lane landfill site in the ACT to help deliver power generated on-site to households during peak demand periods.

The battery will store power made by the existing 4.2 MW biogas power station, which itself will be upgraded with another two 1 MW gas-to-energy generators. 

The dispatchable system will link into the grid via a 20 MW connection with Evoenergy, says minister for transport and city services Chris Steel.

“The addition of this new battery system will provide storage capacity and rapid dispatch of the renewable energy generated by the engines at times when the grid requires it most,” says Steel.

“Further upgrades to the Mugga Lane site will allow us to go even further with our emission reductions building on the more than 89 million of biogas captured at Mugga Lane which has allowed for 105 gigawatt hours of renewable energy to be generated.”

Landfill operator LGI says ACCUs available through the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) make capturing gases on site for power production commercially viable.

Landfill gases, mostly methane, are captured and cool to below 6° Celsius. The cooling process dries out the gas which can then be pressurised and put through a filter, which removes the siloxanes produced by shampoo, soaps and body washes (an oxygen-silicon molecule that clogs up engine parts).

At Mugga Lane, the gas is burnt in the combustion chamber of, currently, four V20 gas engines. The heat drives generators and the energy is dispatched to the grid.

ACT burning to get off gas

The ACT is one of the most progressive governments in Australia, pioneering a movement to stop using gas in homes and businesses by 2045 last year by using a mixture of subsidies and opportunities, such as a Choice partnership to tell residents about the savings available from electric appliances

The government wrote the movement into territory law earlier in June, when the Barr government passed a landmark, Australian-first legislation prohibiting the use of fossil gas in new buildings.

The government is currently looking at capping gas disconnection fees, as happened in Victoria, from the current $770-$800 for a home, and around $1,500 for a business.

The ACT already sources the equivalent of all its electricity from renewables, via a series of bilateral contracts with wind and solar farms located within the ACT, and in Victoria, NSW and South Australia.

It has also switched on its first big battery, the 10MW/20MWh Queanbeyan battery, in February, with the 100 MW/200 MWh Capital battery to follow early next year, while the even bigger Big Canberra Battery project (250MW, 500 MWh) is also being rolled out. 

Rachel Williamson is a science and business journalist, who focuses on climate change-related health and environmental issues.

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