South Australia, adjacent to Hornsdale wind farm, near Jamestown
Neoen is an independent producer of renewable energy. With many years' experience in France (including solar power, wind farms and biomass), they have subsequently rapidly expanded and today are a major international player in the renewable energy sector, especially where energy transition is concerned.
In Australia, Neoen has developed, constructed and now operates the three stages of Hornsdale wind farm (309MW) having achieved power purchase agreements with the ACT government via the ACT wind auction processes (2013-15).
The challenge facing the client
When Vysus Group was trading as LR Energy, we provided extensive assistance and expertise on grid connection feasibility, compliance and due diligence projects across Neoen's Australian renewable energy portfolio, but the Hornsdale Power Reserve project presented new challenges.
Not only is this the first large-scale energy storage project in Australia, but also the first use of Tesla equipment on the Australian electrical network NEM (National Electricity Market) and a project with very intense timelines.
Australia's grid connection process is particularly stringent, with some of the most challenging compliance rules and performance standards in the world. A normal technical connection process with a new manufacturer and a new project could take 4-6 months. In this case, we achieved the whole process in less than 2 months through a monumental effort from the project manager and engineers involved.
Core aspects of the work included complex model development, technical simulation, negotiation with AEMO and TNSP and working closely with the equipment supplier. The trust built up with Neoen and the OEM was such that we hosted their engineers for two weeks while developing technical solutions to resolve the connection approach. As the first energy storage project connected to the NEM, there were a lot of unknowns from a compliance perspective which needed to be resolved.
How Vysus Group helped
We were tasked to study and review the detailed compliance of the manufacturer's battery inverters and balance of plant with detailed technical requirements of the National Electricity Rules, as well as the ESCOSA Licencing Principles for South Australia.
This involved close technical engagement with the manufacturer's engineers to optimise the performance of the inverter controls, utilising the full capability of the technology to provide the maximum degree of support to the South Australia system.
Outcomes for the client
Although Australia has embraced renewable energy over recent years, there have been well-documented challenges around security of supply that have slowed down the transition to a low carbon future.
The successful introduction and switch on of the 'big battery' signals a new era in sustainable power generation is now on the horizon, enabling renewables to make an even greater contribution to the country's energy mix.
This ground-breaking, first of its kind project is contributing to the transformation of the Australian energy ecosystem in two primary ways:
- A portion of the battery will be available at all times to provide frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) to the market;
- The remainder of the battery will be used by Neoen as an additional output from the project. i.e. the project can charge it up and export when power prices are high, or when wind speeds have dropped and output from the wind farm has reduced.The battery has already proven itself as a very capable performer on the network, able to respond to coal plant outages incredibly quickly.