Juwi to build renewable energy hub in regional Western Australia

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The Brisbane subsidiary of German renewable energy developer juwi has signed an agreement with Perth-based Contract Power to construct the solar and wind components of a new hybrid generation solution for the town of Esperance in south-eastern Western Australia. The hybrid project will feature a 4 MW solar farm alongside two 4.5 MW wind turbines integrated with a lithium-ion battery system and gas generators.

Pacific Energy’s subsidiary Contract Power will own and operate the Esperance hybrid renewables facility under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Western Australia’s regional utility Horizon Power. The project is expected to meet up to half of the town’s annual electricity demand and is scheduled to be operational in early 2022.

The battery storage system and integration services for the Esperance project will be provided by Perth-based microgrid specialist Hybrid Systems, another subsidiary of QIC-owned remote power supplier Pacific Energy. The acquisition took place last month signaling Pacific Energy’s determination to capitalize on Western Australia’s transition from poles and wires to offgrid solutions.

Previously, Hybrid System had already established its foothold in the microgrid and stand-alone power system (SPS) market. The company is supplying 47 off-grid hybrid solutions to WA government-owned electricity distributor Western Power, which aims to install 57 SPS units on properties throughout the state. It also aims to take part in Round 2 of Western Power’s SPS program, which will see another 100 units installed at fringe-of-grid locations. 

For juwi, the construction and development of hybrid power plants for off-grid customers, such as mines, is an important pillar of its Australian business strategy. These projects integrate solar, wind and battery power with existing electricity grids using a juwi-developed microgrid control system called juwi Hybrid IQ.

The Esperance project builds on the success of juwi’s landmark hybrid project at a copper mine site in Western Australia – Sandfire DeGrussa, which comprises a 10.6 MW solar facility coupled with a 6 MW battery facility – integrated with an existing diesel generator. The company has constructed hybrid renewable energy solutions for two other Australian customers to date.

The unique solar, wind, and battery project was completed earlier this month at Gold Fields’ Agnew Gold Mine, marking Australia’s largest hybrid microgrid of its kind. It features an 18 MW wind farm, a 10,710-panel solar plant generating 4 MW, a 13 MW/4 MWh battery system, and an off-grid 21 MW gas/diesel engine power plant. In favorable weather conditions, the 56 MW project delivered together with distributed energy producer EDL is able to cover up to 70% of the mine’s power requirements with renewable energy.

In another deal, juwi has delivered a solar+storage hybrid for the University of Queensland at its research station located in the Great Barrier Reef. The Heron Island Research Station project consists of a 500 kW rooftop solar PV array combined with a 0.6 MWh vanadium flow battery integrated with diesel generators using a microgrid control system to deliver over 80% of the research facility’s annual electricity needs. 

Juwi is also involved in pure solar developments in Australia, such as the 30 MW expansion of the Greenough River solar farm, Australia’s first utility-scale PV project. Since the founding of the company in 1996, juwi says it has planned and developed close to 2,000 solar power plants of various sizes, with an overall capacity of more than 2,700 MW in more than 25 countries.