Alinta Energy switches on big Pilbara battery


Alinta Energy today launched Western Australia’s largest lithium ion battery at its Newman Power Station in the Pilbara region. The 30 MW (11.4 MWh) battery is among the world’s largest and is the largest Australian battery to be developed for an industrial application.
The Alinta Energy Newman Battery Storage Project is designed to improve the performance of the islanded high voltage network in the region, supplying power to major iron ore producers. 

Alinta Energy MD & CEO Jeff Dimery said the battery technology is among the world’s best and represents a smart solution to boost capacity and reliability.
“For the iron ore industry in the Pilbara, generating hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars’ worth of output an hour, a reliable energy supply is crucial. This battery will let us better handle peak demand periods, increase reliability for our customers and lower our emissions as a result.

“The project demonstrates our commitment to finding innovative ways to integrate our existing thermal generation portfolio into an evolving market that will incorporate more renewable generation and other disruptive technologies, with an emphasis on sustainability, reliability and affordability of supply,” said Mr Dimery.     

Technical information

The battery supports the 178 MW open cycle gas turbine Newman Power Station by emulating a 30 MW gas turbine and providing spinning reserve. It also delivers frequency control, voltage regulation and reduces peak demand on the gas turbine at the Newman Power Station.

The battery has a world first capability to enter a ‘grid forming’ mode in an islanded system (where the system is rated in excess of 40 MW) and power a 220 kV high voltage power system (consisting of 120 km of overhead transmission lines, high voltage substations and an iron ore mine) with up to 30 MW of load, without support from any other generation source.

The project brought together some of the world’s leading battery and engineering experts. Alinta Energy selected UGL Engineering Pty Ltd as the EPC contractor with Kokam Co, Ltd Korea for the supply of an advanced battery energy storage system.  Kokam teamed with ABB Australia to supply the ABB PowerStore™ “Virtual Generator” system and form an integrated microgrid. When combined with the ABB transformers and substation equipment, the total system comprises ten custom-built containers, integrated seamlessly with Alinta Energy's 178 MW gas-fired Newman Power Station and 220 kV power system. The power systems simulation and modelling was completed by Jacobs.

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