Horizon Power Chooses Senec to Supply Energy Storage for Onslow Microgrid

March 18, 2019
Sophie Gale of Australia’s One Step Off the Grid provides the latest update on the Onslow microgrid planned by Horizon Power in Western Australia.

Sophie Gale of Australia’s One Step Off the Grid provides the latest update on the Onslow microgrid planned by Horizon Power in Western Australia. 

Western Australia regional utility Horizon Power has tapped energy storage company Senec Australia to supply smart battery systems for its leading-edge microgrid project that aims to run the coastal Pilbara town of Onslow on at least 50 percent renewables – and likely up to 70 percent.

Photo by cybrain/Shutterstock.com

Senec, which is a full-owned subsidiary of one of Europe’s largest energy supply companies EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg, said on Monday that its Australian business had been selected as the exclusive provider of small-scale battery storage systems for the Horizon project.

As we have reported on One Step, Horizon Power’s Renewable Energy Pilot aims to integrate traditional energy sources with solar panel and battery storage systems to maximize the amount of renewable energy in its microgrid in Onslow.

The plans for Onslow –– which is a launching base for the massive Wheatstone LNG project owned by Chevron –– will combine a new 5.25 MW gas-fired power plant, distributed and utility-scale solar, and battery storage, each element of which is being contributed to financially by Chevron.

At the time of the project’s launch in October 2016, then WA energy minister Mike Nahan said it would create “a new era of energy competition and efficiency for households and businesses.”

In June last year, when the gas-fired power station was nearing completion, Horizon revealed that it had awarded the contract for the solar farm to Complete Power Systems (CPS) National, to be built adjacent to the new gas power plant.

And a utility-scale battery was to be built and installed by Contract Power Australia within Horizon Power’s new zone substation, about 3km from the Onslow town center.

Join us at Microgrid 2019 in San Diego May 14 for a discussion on microgrids as a foundation for DERMS at Horizon Power.

The small-scale battery systems, which would be made available to households and business at a price heavily subsidized by Horizon, would be installed by MPS, a Western Australia-based specialist partner of Senec, the company said.

DERMS central to Onslow microgrid

It said the ability to integrate the batteries with Horizon Power’s Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) –– the microgrid’s centralized control system –– played an important role in Senec’s selection, considering its affiliation with one of the largest German electric utilities.

“The commitment to local engineering and technical support was an important criterion for Horizon Power in selecting the partner,” Senec said.

“In conjunction with larger traditional and utility scale renewable generation plants, as well as the intelligent control of the microgrid, the pilot seeks to demonstrate that Onslow can sustainably and reliably be supplied with clean electricity,” the statement said.

“Each of SENEC’s batteries will be integrated with Horizon Power’s Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS), the centralized control system that will ‘orchestrate’ DER at times when intelligent control is required.”

This article originally appeared on One Step Off the Grid and was reposted with permission. Sophie is editor of One Step Off The Grid and deputy editor of its sister site, Renew Economy.
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.

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