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WA enters battery trials

Synergy has installed the containerised battery systems at what will be WA's biggest grid-connected battery energy storage system, providing 200 megawatts of power with 800MW hours of energy storage. Image: RRA/Adobe Stocks.

The Federal and Western Australian (WA) Governments are funding trials of long-duration batteries.

With $2.85 million each from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the WA government, regional energy provider Horizon Power will pilot two new battery technologies in remote communities powered by regional microgrids.

“The WA battery trials will help ensure reliable, affordable energy in the long term for hundreds of thousands of Australians living off grid,” Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said.

“We are committed to investing in technologies like microgrids, to improve reliability and resilience of electricity supply for regional and remote communities – getting renewable energy to people where and when they need it.

“The trials are part of sweeping efforts by this government to ensure no one is left behind by the energy transformation.

The trials will establish new forms of energy storage and help Horizon Power diversify long-duration battery solutions for extreme climates.

“Innovative storage trials are just another way the Albanese Government is putting the regions front and centre in a decarbonising the economy,” Minister for Climate Change and Energy Senator Jenny McAllister said.

“We know that firmed renewables are the cheapest form of energy. These trials, which focus on adapting to dynamic conditions and extreme heat, will help efficiently supply renewable energy to communities no matter where they live or how hot it gets as our climate changes.

“These technologies have the potential to be scaled to communities in Australia’s extreme climates, giving locals greater energy resilience, control, and independence.”

If successful, they will also help Horizon Power roll out Distributed Energy Resource Management Systems (DERMS) across 34 regional areas by the end of the year.

“The Cook Government strongly supports investing in new technology in our journey to net zero emissions by 2050 and recognises the role long duration energy storage will play in that journey,” WA Energy Minister Reece Whitby said.

“The Long Duration Energy Storage trials will provide Horizon Power with valuable operational experience and understanding of the new technologies and how they work in regions with high temperatures, which will support future deployment in the regions.

“Utilising cutting-edge technology, these innovative projects will support us our decarbonisation journey, paving the way for a cleaner, greener and more sustainable energy future.”

DERMS is a technology system that controls and improves the flow of electricity from energy resources, such as solar panels and wind turbines. It allows grid operators to send out the right amount of power to meet demand and provides real-time data on the status of energy resources, allowing quick responses to changes in conditions.

BASF’s 250 kilowatts (KW) sodium sulphur battery in Carnarvon will be the first of its kind in Australia to connect to a regulated network and a DERMS platform, while Redflow’s 100kW zinc bromine flow battery will be put to the test in summer temperatures well over 40 degrees further north in Nullagine.

Both are expected to be deployed in early 2025.

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