Under the terms of the deal, S&C will supply 20 of its PureWave community energy storage (CES) systems to Ergon’s grid utility support system.
The storage systems will be used to improve the power reliability and efficiency on constrained single-wire high-voltage distribution lines, commonly known as single wire earth return lines (SWER).
Ergon operates about 65,000 kilometers of SWER network servicing more than 26,000 customers.
S&C Electric says energy storage is “an ideal solution for improving the power reliability, quality and efficiency for rural-area customers served by these networks”.
Troy Miller, manager – Business Development & Product Management, Power Quality Products, S&C Electric Company, said: “Alternatives to increasing line capacity rely on significant investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure, which can cost over AUD2 million (US$1.7 million) per line.
“Ergon is deferring those transmission and distribution costs and investing in an energy storage solution that provides a wider range of benefits for their customers.”
Ergon Energy estimates these systems will reduce network augmentation costs by more than 35 percent.
Community energy storage in action
The CES systems will charge lithium-ion batteries at night when demand is at its lowest, and then discharge them during the day to support peak load demands.
Each 25-kVA unit will provide 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which S&C Electric claims is enough energy to power the average home for up to five days if power is lost completely.
CES units will also help Ergon better integrate customer-owned rooftop solar photovoltaic installations by addressing issues with reverse power flow and voltage variability to improve grid stability.
The CES units will also store excess energy generated by the rooftop solar and discharge it locally to lower peak loads on the SWER lines.
Ergon Energy will also use S&C’s IntelliTeam distributed energy management (DEM) system to optimize and control the fleet of CES units throughout their SWER network.
Able to control up to 1,000 CES units, the DEM will allow Ergon Energy to scale its use of storage on the SWER networks in the future and provide added benefits through the optimization of multiple energy storage resources.
“This is a first for Ergon and Australia,” says Ergon Chief Executive Ian McLeod. “Using a battery-based system in place of traditional network augmentation will not only deliver better value for Ergon and our customers, but it will help drive similar technology adoption on the electricity network.”
The first deployment of the GUSS units is expected to be complete by early 2015, with the possibility of hundreds more being used across Ergon’s network in coming years.