Transgrid has released a Project Assessment Draft Report (PADR), recommending a backup storage supply for the town of Broken Hill in New South Wales, which is set to become one of the world’s largest mini-grids.

The homes and businesses of Broken Hill’s 17,000 strong-population will be powered by renewables.

TransGrid’s Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) report recommends a new back-up supply arrangement that establishes grid-scale storage to leverage the wind and solar generation at Broken Hill.

Andrew Kingsmill, TransGrid’s Head of Network Planning, said, “This is an opportunity to look at the technologies available today and give Broken Hill a state-of-the-art, twenty-first century renewable supply.”

Broken Hill is supplied by one transmission line that runs over 250km from the southern New South Wales town of Buronga, on the Murray River.

When the line is unavailable, like during an unplanned outage caused by a major storm, a backup supply is currently provided by two diesel turbines.

Network distributor Essential Energy, who owns the turbines, is planning to divest them and TransGrid is evaluating options for the back-up supply arrangement going forward.

Under the new recommendation, energy would be stored and later returned to the grid when demand is high, as happens during heatwave conditions.

“Most of the time, when the transmission line is in service, the grid-scale storage will be able to store excess renewable energy from south-western New South Wales that would otherwise be split, and provide it back to the market when it’s most needed,” Mr Kingsmill said.

“When the line is unavailable, the grid-scale storage will work with the wind and solar generation at Broken Hill to reliably power the town.

“This is a prime example of the value of grid-scale storage in the future power system.”

TransGrid is accepting written submissions on the report until 22 September 2020. The final report is expected to be published in late 2020.

For more information on the Project Assessment Draft Report, click here.

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