A remote solar-diesel hybrid mini-grid that is being used to power a remote indigenous community in northern Australia will soon be fitted with battery storage, after German energy storage expert Qinous won the tender to supply and install a 1,987kWh lithium-ion system.
The tender was awarded by local energy provider Power and Water Corporation, who commissioned the construction of the hybrid system at the Daly River community as part of a four-year, $55 million plan to transform the energy supply of Indigenous communities in the Australia’s Northern Territory.
The new battery system will store the excess solar energy generated by the hybrid plant, while also providing the grid-forming functions of the diesel generators, which to date have been the only source of power for communities like that at Daly River.
Dow Airen, Power and Water’s senior project manager said the Qinous tender was selected as a “technically and commercially compelling” solution to the remote power problem.
As Qinous’ Steffen Heinrich noted in a statement on the project, “the operation of diesel generators is not only expensive for Power and Water, but is also a burden for the environment because of air pollution and spill risks.
The lithium-ion battery will allow the current diesel generators to be switched off completely during the day, increasing the use of “affordable and clean” renewable energy, he said.
Overall, the goal is for around 30 communities to be equipped with hybrid solar and storage, as part of the Solar SETuP scheme that is jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Northern Territory Government.
“We look forward realising the battery system together with Qinous… we are always looking for innovative solutions to provide power to our most remote residents,” said PWC’s Airen.
A factory acceptance test of the battery system is planned for June, and the project is scheduled to go into operation in October 2016.