Hornsdale wind farm FCAS trial a success

Hornsdale Wind Farm
Hornsdale Wind Farm

Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia has successfully passed its first frequency control trial.

It is the first time a wind farm has been able to demonstrate the delivery of Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) in Australia.

FCAS are used by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to sustain the frequency of electricity delivery into the nation’s electrical system, with the aim of maintaining a balance between electricity generation and national demand.

The Hornsdale Wind Farm Stage 2 FCAS trial was executed in collaboration with AEMO, ARENA, and Siemens-Gamesa.

The flexibility of the wind turbines at Hornsdale, developed by Siemens-Gamesa, allows for rapid and accurate response to control signals from AEMO.

The turbines deliver greater response precision, when compared to conventional generators, and provides an enhanced stabilisation of the electricity grid.

Neoen’s 24-hour control centre dispatched the wind farm into the FCAS markets under a wide range of conditions.

The results of the trials confirmed the turbines’ response times were not impacted by gusts, ramping or strong winds.

Neoen Australia managing director Franck Woitiez said the FCAS model is “mutually beneficial” for companies providing FCAS, as well as the nation.

“The FCAS delivered from Hornsdale has already proved its impact on the market,” he said.

“On January 14, when FCAS Regulation prices were forecast to reach $9000 per MWh – compared to the typical $20 per MWh – Neoen bid additional capacity into the market from both Hornsdale 2 and the Hornsdale Power Reserve.

“This brought the price down to below $300 for the duration of the interconnector maintenance.

“During this time, the South Australian market saw an approximate saving of $3.1 million due to this increased competition.

“It’s a great initiative for the nation, for companies and for Australian pockets.”

The new revenue streams from FCAS has more than offset losses accrued by the energy production restrictions required to deliver FCAS.

Last week, ARENA announced it would provide $500,000 in funding to Woolnorth’s 168MW Musselroe wind farm for a $1 million trial to test the technical capability of FCAS.