Portable Hybrid Microgrid Up and Running in One Week for Australia Village: ABB

June 17, 2016
A new portable hybrid microgrid system was up in running in an Australian village within one week of leaving the factory more than 600 miles away.

A new portable hybrid microgrid system was up in running in an Australian village within one week of leaving the factory more than 600 miles away.

Six months later it was packed up and relocated for use elsewhere. The disassembly required less than 170 hours of labor.

Called SunSHIFT, the hybrid system can use solar, diesel and natural gas generators, governed by a microgrid control system created by ABB. The remote Queensland pilot project operated on 141 kilowatt peak (kWp) of solar photovoltaics and 1 MW of diesel generation from four units already at the site.

SunSHIFT is being developed and commercialized by Laing O’Rourke, a UK-based engineering and construction giant that is working in collaboration with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

In a recent report on the system, Laing O’Rourke described it as the first world’s first fully re-deployable solar-diesel hybrid plant.

The modular system is transported in container-sized, prefabricated modules. It is designed so that workers can quickly assemble the power plant at a remote location and if necessary later take it down for use elsewhere.

Energy storage also can be incorporated into the portable hybrid microgrid as an option.

Laing O’Rourke lists several benefits of the system. In addition to its portability, it reduces diesel fuel consumption because it is augmented with solar. Th systems also reduces carbon emissions, exposure to fuel price volatility, frequency of fuel tank refills, truck movements in remote locations and potential fuel spills. Runtime for the diesel generators decreases and plant longevity rises, according to the report..

Furthermore, in some areas the mining sector is already acknowledging that offsetting onsite fossil fuel power generation with renewable energy can reduce operating costs and improve energy security and productivity, said ABB in a news release about the project.

Portable hybrid microgrid set up in one week. Photo Credit: Above Photography

The pilot used ABB’s Microgrid Plus System, a microgrid controller designed to coordinate the operation of hybrid power stations, stabilizing and integrating renewable power generation into microgrid systems.

ABB is also supplying other equipment for the portable hybrid microgrid, such as solar inverters, controllers, remote access routers and Ethernet switches.

ABB sees potential for such hybrid systems for industries and communities in remote off-grid locations. The system also could be used for emergency relief efforts.

Laing O’Rourke and ARENA are now in talks about possible future collaboration to roll out the SunShift commercially.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Portable hybrid #microgrid built in one week. See time-lapse video. @ABBgroupnews” quote=”Portable hybrid #microgrid built in one week. See time-lapse video.”]

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

LinkedIn: Elisa Wood

Facebook:  Microgrids

Exploring the Potential of Community Microgrids Through Three Innovative Case Studies

April 8, 2024
Community microgrids represent a burgeoning solution to meet the energy needs of localized areas and regions. These microgrids are clusters of interconnected energy resources,...

Mgk Erock Sr Cover 2023 02 06 16 26 29

7 Strategies to Make Microgrids a Fit for Utility Grid Modernization

In 2022, Enchanted Rock and Microgrid Knowledge conducted a survey of leaders at large U.S. electric utilities. The goal was to understand their actions and attitudes around microgrid...