ABB supplies 30 MW battery, microgrid to the Pilbara


A big battery has been coupled with a gas-fired power plant by ABB in WA. The 30 MW battery storage system comprises five 6 MW ABB Powerstore batteries, transformers, switchgear and the company’s Microgrid Plus automation and control platform.

ABB claims that the system is one of the largest battery systems to be coupled with a gas-fired power plant globally.

The system will not only reduce gas consumption and carbon emissions from the Newman Power Station, but will also ensure interrupted power supply by discharging when faults cause an existing gas turbine to fail. ABB has described the system as providing ‘spinning reserve’ at the site, a reference to its role in frequency regulation.

Alinta claims that one million litres of diesel is stored at the Newman generator, which serves as a costly backup to the gas generators in the event of gas turbine failures or an interruption to gas supply.

Diesel trucked to remote locations, such as Newman in WA’s North West region, is a prohibitively expensive fuel source when use to generate electricity. Today, solar PV outcompetes diesel generation at such sites by something approaching an order of magnitude.

The ABB battery and microgrid system could also be used to buffer solar PV generation if is added by Alinta to the power plant.

“Our plug-and-play microgrid solution has been designed to meet complex automation requirements and will ensure grid stability and fuel saving for Alinta’s operation,” said Massimo Danieli, Head of ABB’s Grid Automation business unit.

ABB has had considerable success in supplying microgrid solutions in Australia – particularly at remote communities, industries and islands. Its Power Grids division, responsible for the Newman system, has been the enabler at a number of high profile battery storage projects in the country.

In February, Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported that ABB had partnered with Tesla of the Hornsdale Power Reserve project, although the Swiss company declined to provide further details regarding the project. pv magazine Australia also understands that ABB was also instrumental in the realization of the ARENA-supported DeGrussa Solar Power Project that supplies the Sandfire Resources copper and gold mine.

Both the 128 MWh/100 MW Hornsdale and 1.8 MWh/4 MW DeGrussa projects are owend and operated by Neoen. The Degrussa battery is coupled to a 10.6 MW ground mounted PV array developed by juwi Australia.

The order for the Newman battery and microgrid solution was received by ABB via Korean lithium ion technology developer and electrical storage system provider Kokam. The two companies had previously collaborated on the iconic Solar Impulse 2 solar plane project.

The Newman Power Station supplies the Roy Hill iron ore mine, which is majority owned by Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, via a 220kV transmission line.

This story was amended on May 16, 2018, to reflect that the battery storage is 30 MW, rather than 30 MWh.

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