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.
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.