South Australia’s second big battery – the Dalrymple North installation on the Yorke Peninsula south of Adelaide – has not quite completed its commissioning, but it is already showing some interesting innovations.
On Wednesday, it went into “islanding” mode – taking a large part of the Yorke Peninsula “off the grid” and using the battery to supply the local consumers. It appears to have gone well.
The Dalrymple battery – the result of a long-running project known as ESCRI, or Energy Storage for Commercial Renewable Integration – is expected to come into service “very soon”, according to Electranet, the state’s transmission company that owns the project.
The facility – known to the market as the Dalrymple North Battery Energy Storage System – is already appearing on energy apps that show the operations of each individual generator, and the newly arrived battery storage facilities which do both load (charging) and generation (discharging).
The first big battery – the Tesla 100MW/129MWh installation next to Neoen Australia’s Hornsdale wind farm north of Adelaide – has been operating for nearly 10 months, after a less than 100-day installation, and has already demonstrated its speed and versatility, its valuable grid services, and an ability to puncture some of the market gouging by gas generators.
The Dalrymple facility is a different set-up, with 30MW/8MWh designed to provide grid balancing services, and also to enable the local area – which sits at the end of the network – to go into “islanding mode”, and keep the lights in case of problems elsewhere.
Normally, this will rely on input from the neighbouring wind farm, the 91MW Wattle Point facility owned by AGL, and local rooftop solar. But for this week’s trial, output at the Wattle Point wind farm was dialled down to zero to enable the battery to go through its paces.
Another big battery, and Tesla’s second big battery in Australia, is expected to start commissioning as early as next week at the Ganawarra solar farm in Victoria, where the installation of the 25MW/50MWh battery is more or less complete.
Commissioning is expected to finishing ahead of the December 1 deadline, and will be a useful addition to the resources available to the Australian Energy Market Operator as it seeks to deal with what may turn out to be a hot and challenging summer for the grid.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.