Home Energy ARENA to invest $7 million on solar parks, wind farms
ARENA to invest $7 million on solar parks, wind farms Image courtesy of Ben Schonewille at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is set to spend $7 million on testing how solar parks, wind farms or enabling technologies such as batteries, can provide grid stability and security services.

ARENA says it will be looking for projects that offer new opportunities for renewable and supporting technologies to provide system services traditionally performed by coal and gas-fired power plants – including system strength provision, frequency control ancillary services, fast frequency response, inertia provision and measurement and other services that may enhance system security.

According to ARENA, the increase in the share of renewable energy and the retirement of traditional synchronous generators can add to system security challenges, and it says current techniques for managing system security events include requiring gas plants to curtail how much electricity is produced by solar parks, wind farms or enabling technologies such as batteries to provide grid stability and security services.

ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said demonstrating renewables could stabilise fluctuations in frequency and voltage which could help pave the way for more renewables to join the grid.

“System security has been a key focus of industry regulators, the market operator and participants. It was also the priority of the Finkel Review,” he said.

“As our electricity system transforms from a system of centralised synchronous generators to more diversified generation that includes more and more renewables, we need to find ways to deliver power system stability and security using less fossil fuels.

“If successful, these pilot projects will save consumers money and create new revenue streams for solar, wind and battery operators.”

Previously, ARENA has funded a successful trial of FCAS at Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia and a trial at Musselroe Wind Farm in Tasmania; the latter is still underway.

Hornsdale is now registered for six of eight FCAS markets and will provide insights into the cost benefit of using curtailment to provide FCAS services from a new technology source.

“This funding initiative will build upon these projects and invites applications for additional system services to be provided by renewable technologies,” Frischknecht said.

“By reducing the need for thermal generation to keep the system stable, the cost of energy will reduce over time.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

 

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