Media Release: Next phase for Powercor’s large-scale battery

27 February 2019

Testing of Powercor’s large-scale battery and its role in the energy grid is moving to a new stage and will be incorporated into a micro-grid at a new location.

The battery will be relocated from its site in Buninyong in Victoria’s west to a new site in Kyneton.

It will be paired with a solar 1.5MW PV system, providing Powercor an opportunity to test demand response as well as the battery’s ongoing operation and reliability.

The 2MW battery was originally installed at Buninyong to test how the technology could be used to temporarily increase capacity during peak demands, helping to defer expensive augmentation and, as a result, reduce costs for customers.

General Manager, Electricity Networks Steven Neave said the project’s next stage would allow Powercor to gain more insight into how batteries could be used to benefit the local network and customers.

“Large-scale batteries are providing network businesses opportunities to further improve reliability for customers. We want to continue learning how they can be used on the local network to benefit communities into the future,” Mr Neave said.

“We expect batteries will become a more affordable option to upgrading the capacity of the network to manage those infrequent high-peak demand days, helping keep network costs down for customers.

“By relocating the battery to the new site, it will allow us to continue testing the operation and reliability of batteries in a different application.”

At the new site, the battery system will be used extensively in multiple modes of operation and monitored in different ways to what was tested at Buninyong. The next phase will look at the process of forming and operating a micro-grid, solar synchronisation when islanded, power smoothing of solar fluctuations, reactive power correction during high motor loads, and demand response.

Demand response will be tested up to 15 times a year, with 2MW/1MWh of power made available. This will allow the network team to better understand the use of demand response to address local constraints.

The Buninyong network has experienced a drop in demand, allowing the battery project to be reviewed.

During the Buninyong project, Powercor engineers gained insight into how the battery could help support peak demand, what protection systems and system control infrastructure were needed, how to incorporate the battery into Total Fire Ban and Code Red days in bushfire prone areas, how to support changes in voltage levels as well as how the battery size and model could be embedded into an existing network.

“We installed this battery almost three years ago, at a time when this technology was relatively new,” Mr Neave said.