Electricity infrastructure company Essential Energy has teamed with the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to trial a standalone power system (SAPS) that will convert electricity from a solar plant to make green hydrogen which will be used to power a holiday cottage on the state’s Mid-North Coast.
The integrated system, installed at the historic Cutlers Cottage located in the New South Wales (NSW) Myall Lakes National Park, includes a 23 kW ground-mounted solar array and a hydrogen electrolyser with accompanying storage system. The green hydrogen will be used to power a fuel cell capable of generating 425 KWh of dispatchable renewable electricity.
The head of NPWS, Atticus Fleming, said the system, which also includes a battery energy storage system and back-up generator, delivers energy like any other rooftop solar system and stores power as hydrogen for conversion into electricity at night or when loads are high. This largely eliminates the need for back-up diesel generators.
Fleming said Essential Energy is funding the 18-month trial to determine if standalone green hydrogen power systems can be rolled out as a reliable and affordable clean energy alternative for customers in remote regional and rural locations.
“The NPWS is uniquely placed to trial innovative renewable energy solutions as … the custodian of visitor facilities in many remote and wilderness locations across NSW,” he said. “A key pillar of our plan is embracing new energy technologies to deliver low-impact visitor experiences and preserve the natural environment.”
Cutlers Cottage is located at the water’s edge of Two Mile Lake north of Hawks Nest in the Myall Lakes National Park.The original cottage was built in 1910 by Maud Cutler. In 2002, the cottage was restored before being made available as holiday accommodation.
Fleming said the trial could potentially provide a future renewable energy solution for remote visitor facilities in national parks across the state.
Essential Energy, whose electricity network covers 737,000 square kilometres, and services regional, rural and remote communities across 95% of NSW and parts of southern Queensland, is investigating the introduction of SAPS as part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen network efficiency and resilience.
The state-owned network service provider has previously said the deployment of SAPS can provide significant benefits for customers, particularly those in regional and remote locations. Transitioning eligible customers to energy supplied by SAPS allows the “poles and wires” of the traditional electricity infrastructure to be removed.
The installation of the integrated solar and green hydrogen SAPS follows the recent commissioning of Australia’s first hybrid solar and renewable hydrogen microgrid.
Western Australia government-owned utility Horizon Power last month commissioned a demonstration plant that will utilise solar and green hydrogen generation and storage to help power the coastal town of Denham.
Once fully operational, the $9.3 million (USD 6.2 million) Denham Hydrogen Demonstration Plant is expected to be able to power about 100 households or 20% of Denham’s residents and businesses and offset about 140,000 litres of diesel a year.
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