Western Power, the state owned network operator, is seeking to install another 50MW of distributed battery storage at various points in Western Australia’s main grid, and is encouraging Australian businesses to get involved through the manufacture, installation and operation of community and behind the meter batteries.
Western Power has already installed a dozen “community” scale batteries that have helped relieve pressure points in certain parts of the grid and to deal with high penetrations of rooftop solar.
The new battery plan is separate to the 100MW big battery that will be installed by government owned generator and retailer Synergy to help relieve pressure on ageing coal and gas plants, and will be focused on smaller batteries and multiple locations.
A document seeking registrations of Interest from industry and retailers interested in providing “non-network solutions including behind the meter batteries in specific locations” was released late last week.
It talks of the numerous issues that could be resolved with battery storage, including maximising the value of the existing network, ensuring power system stability, providing a smarter and cheaper alternative to traditional investment options, facilitating further investment in renewable energy, and boosting network resilience.
And, it says, batteries can solve multiple problems because they have many different value streams, including boosting customer self-consumption, deferring or avoiding investment in network assets, improving reliability, providing Essential System Services (ESS) such as frequency control, reserve capacity, energy arbitrage and displacement of other generating sources.
“Batteries deliver a range of network and customer benefits, particularly with the growth of solar where we now have one in three households with solar panels,” Western Power principal engineer Nathan Kirby said in a statement,
“Community batteries and other storage options all play an important role in ensuring power system stability and security while providing a viable alternative to traditional energy options.”
The distributed energy plan includes this indicative proposals for battery storage – including a range of battery sizes and duration – that will be finalised over the coming year.
Kirby says the plan outlines opportunities where we can work with private industry and WA businesses to obtain distribution storage services and installations across the network, including residential and commercial customer batteries as well as flexible loads and other innovative demand reduction services.”
“This will help meet emerging network needs as well as providing operational cost efficiencies and greater community benefits.”