While the political storm rages over this week’s state-wide South Australian power outage, the Lyon Group has announced a partnership with Mitsubishi Corporation which it says will seek to roll out 1GW of solar + 500MWh of battery storage by 2020.
Lyon Group additionally hopes to develop 500MWh of grid-tied storage independent of solar in the same period.
While light on detail, the Lyon Group has unveiled its ambition to develop a significant solar+storage capacity in Australia by 2020.
In partnership with Mitsubishi Corporation, which presumably will be stumping up much fo the equity for the projects, Lyon Group says the addition of the solar+storage and standalone battery installations could sure up Australia’s electricity networks and facilitate higher levels of renewable energy penetration.
The timing of the announcement coincides with the storm of political debate accompanying extreme weather which lashed South Australia earlier this week. Fierce storms brought down high voltage power lines and damaged other infrastructure in the Port Argusta area, causing a state-wide blackout that affected some 1.7 million South Australians.
Utility scale battery storage would be particularly well-suited to regulating frequency on the grid because of its immediate response time. This characteristic makes battery storage superior even to fossil-fuel driven spinning reserve in providing frequency regulation grid services.
In light of this, there is a significant opportunity for the Lyon Group to offer its proposed solar+storage and standalone battery systems to the Australian market.
This is particularly the case in states like South Australia, where large spinning reserves have come out of the market, such as Alinta’s Northern power plant. Although it must be noted that AEMO has turned the blame for this week’s South Australian blackout away from the high level of renewable energy penetration in the state’s grid.
“Unleashing batteries into the system allows Australia’s transition to a clean electricity system to accelerate, without the power system stability challenges that come from intermittent-only renewables,” says Lyon Solar Partner David Green, in a media statement.
Under exactly which market mechanism the Lyon Group plans to develop its battery systems is unclear. However, utility scale battery systems to provide grid services in countries like Japan, South Korea, Germany, and in certain U.S. states is emerging very quickly.
In the statement, the Lyon Group’s Green added: “Lyon will add enough clean and reliable generation capacity to the energy market to safely allow for the decommissioning of some of Australia’s oldest, most polluting coal-fired power stations.”
Under the partnership, Lyon and Mitsubishi will deploy AES Energy Storage’s Advancion battery arrays. AES assembles utility scale battery systems using battery cells from a range of suppliers, along with third party power conversion systems. The company’s expertise comes in being able to couple this hardware in a modular configuration, alongside its own battery management system, and intelligent control software.
Lyon Group reports that it intends to develop a business model for battery storage deployment in Australia, which it then intends to export to the Southeast Asian region. Through doing so, Green says that the company could create, “an economic opportunity for the establishment of a local battery storage industry.”
It is difficult to imagine battery cell production coming to Australia, however, assembly of components into a utility scale system, as AES Energy does in the U.S., could conceivably be carried out, given sufficient demand.
The Lyon Mitsubishi partnership, which covers the Australasian region, will retain ownership of the solar+storage arrays. Earlier this month, Lyon released plans to develop the 100 MW and 100 MWh solar+storage arrays in Roxby Downs South Australia.