Lakeland solar+storage to demonstrate value stacking at utility scale

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Germany companies Conergy and Autarsys have collaborated with ARENA to deliver Australia’s first large scale solar+storage array. While it pales in comparison to the headline-grabbing Hornsdale wind+storage array in terms of capacity, the project participants claim that it is set to demonstrate a scalable battery for collocated large scale PV and battery storage.

Value stacking has been for some time been a catchcry of supporters of grid-level battery storage.  The term refers to a big battery’s ability to provide a number of services to the grid, both in terms of functionality and revenue generation for the asset owner.

This capability is being tested at utility scale by the recently completed Lakeland Solar and Storage project. The system is located on the Cape York Peninsula, near Cooktown, 240 kilometres north-west of Cairns.

ARENA provided a $17.4 million grant towards the $42.5 million project. In launching the project, ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht noted that it will serve as a demonstration for combined solar and storage to provide dispatchable power into relatively constrained networks.

“It will also be a test case for deliberate ‘islanding’, where a section of the grid continues to provide power while disconnected from the main grid. This capability will increase the reliability of local supply and pave the way for other fringe of the grid locations,” said Frischknecht.

German provider Autarsys delivered the system. Autarsys Managing Director Matthias Ross emphasised the “fringe-of-grid” use case.

“What we’ve seen in Lakeland is that a grid-connected renewable energy system can provide reliable power to the national energy supply with lessons that can be scaled up and applied elsewhere in global markets,” said Ross.

The Lakeland project will have the capability to independently power up to 3,000 homes with electricity when in ‘island mode’. Given this capability, it could demonstrate the value of distributed solar generation and storage capabilities in providing resiliency on the grid’s edge.

Autasys says that the system will be able to demonstrate the provision of multiple grid services, while still availing itself of arbitrage opportunities on the wholesale market.

Conergy has plans to expand Lakeland to 30 MW of solar power. Conergy Managing Director Christopher West said that local generation can minimise grid losses in serving regional areas.

“The summer months are obviously a challenging time for the network, but with the addition of the power feeding in from the Lakeland project, people in the region can look forward to more stable and reliable supply, even in times of peak demand,” said West in a statement.

This article was updated on 21/2/2018 to reflect that Matthias Ross is the Managing Director of Autarsys.