Alinta Energy switches on 30MW Pilbara battery

The Newman Battery Storage Project is supplying power to major iron ore producers in the Pilbara

Alinta Energy has launched Western Australia’s largest lithium-ion battery at its Newman Power Station in the Pilbara region.

The 30MW (11.4MWh) battery is one of the world’s largest and is the largest Australian battery to be developed for an industrial application.

The $45 million 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 managing director and 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,” Mr Dimery said.

“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.”

The battery supports the 178MW open cycle gas turbine Newman Power Station by emulating a 30MW gas turbine and providing spinning reserve.

It also delivers frequency control, voltage regulation and reduces peak demand on the gas turbine at the 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 40MW) and power a 220kV high voltage power system (consisting of 120km of overhead transmission lines, high voltage substations and an iron ore mine) with up to 30MW of load, without support from any other generation source.

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 the Newman Power Station and power system.

The power system’s simulation and modeling was completed by Jacobs.