Alice Springs Solar to end blackouts

Some big news coming out for residents suffering the solar drought in the Northern Territory – the new Battery Energy Storage System will transform Alice Springs solar and is slated to be one of the largest grid-connected storage solutions in all of Australia.

BESS and Alice Springs solar

Solar Energy in the Northern Territory has lagged far behind the other Australian states in terms of residential and commercial solar uptake (January 2017 PV output was 4,049MWh vs Queensland’s 126,629MWh) – so it’s great to see new government owned company Territory Generation announce the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

Territory Generation Logo - Alice Springs Solar
Territory Generation Logo (source: territorygeneration.com.au)

The cutting-edge BESS will be installed by Vector Energy and will be a 5mW storage system, capable of supplying energy to the grid for up to 40 minutes if required.

It will cost approximately $8.3 million to develop and modelling done by Territory Generation, or ‘T-Gen’, shows that this will  be recouped within four to five years. Chief Executive Officer of Territory Generation Tim Duignan, was quoted as saying “We’re replacing aged electricity generators with the latest equipment, to provide efficient and reliable power supply, drive down the cost of producing electricity and to support a transition to renewable energy.”

Duignan also noted that this is an important project as it improves the reliability of base-load power – imperative as we transition to renewables (there are overcast days even in the Northern Territory). Just having solar panels or wind generators isn’t enough – as we saw in South Australia last year if base-load power isn’t sufficient it will lead to widespread blackouts. On that note, in the same week as the ABC are reporting that South Australian power prices will be the highest in the world as of Saturday, it’s good to see projects with clear modelling and positive financials – there is quite a lot of short-medium term pain coming up for energy bills nationwide.

The BESS is set to be completed by late 2017.

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