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energy storage

Start-up could solve SA’s power problem Tens of thousands of South Australian homes and businesses have been repeatedly left without power because of storms and the unique ecosystem of the SA power market.

I

n March, the South Australian Government launched

AusIndustry. Moriarty said that at this stage, approximately $3m has

a plan for energy security in an effort to curb these

been invested by shareholders.

power issues. Key components of the government’s

The solution uses abundantly available elemental silicon for

new plan focus on renewable energy storage and

storing and retrieving electrical energy enabling low-cost stor-

gas, and include:

age of energy and a stable supply back to the grid — a critical

• a call for tenders to develop a 100 MW grid-scale battery storage facility for renewable energy, using approximately $150 million from the Renewable Technology Fund; • development of a new 250 MW gas-fired power plant to offset the intermittent nature of renewables, expected to cost $360 million; • legislation to allow the Energy Minister powers for market intervention in the electricity market, for example, to instruct for generators to be turned when required; • establishment of an energy security target — confirming its commitment to a 50% renewables target; • $24 million investment in gas exploration under its Plan for Accelerating Exploration; • gas royalty incentives for landowners. The pros and cons of Jay Weatherill’s state plan to take control of

its energy future have been hotly debated since its release. According to Dr Kevin Moriarty, chairman of Adelaide-based 1414 Degrees, the government doesn’t even need to look outside its own borders and workforce for the solutions. Originating from CSIRO research, the 1414 Degrees solution is a patented thermal energy storage system (TESS), which is claimed to reduce energy costs by increasing the efficiency of renewable generation and stabilising grid supply.

requirement as renewable generation increases, not just in SA but globally. This has advantages from an environmental perspective, as the decommissioning of a TESS is benign. The company said: “Waste produced is solidified silicon that can easily be disposed of or recycled. It does not need to be treated or specially contained and has no damaging chemical impact if it needs to be discarded at the end of its useful life.”

Stabilising the grid The prototype TESS had its first successful run on 30 September 2016. The company has calculated that it can install sufficient storage, capable of supplying hundreds of MW of electricity, at just $70,000 per MWh to provide for a reliable electricity supply with up to 90% renewable sources and end the blackouts in South Australia. As well as producing electricity, excess heat can also be used to heat water for use in heating and other industrial processes. As a comparison, lithium batteries cost 10 times as much and need to be regularly replaced. The TESS is differentiated from pumped hydro and solar thermal by having minimal site-specific requirements and is a containerised solution for cost-effective integration in almost any location. The solution can be placed near grid interconnects, which minimises the additional costs of kilometres of high-voltage lines and their com-

A full prototype is now ready for commercialisation after a decade

mensurate energy losses and positioning adjacent to a district heating

developing this highly complex machine.The prototype development

network. This, therefore, reduces the cost of connecting expensive

was co-funded by an accelerating commercialisation grant from

and disruptive infrastructure.

42 Sustainability Matters - Apr/May 2017

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Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...