Transgrid has published a report on the Broken Hill renewable mini-grid project, identifying a preferred back-up power supplier. 

Transgrid’s Project Assessment Conclusions Report (PACR) selected Canadian firm Hydrostor’s long-term back-up supply solution, rather than using diesel generators.

Transgrid Executive General Manager of Network, Marie Jordan, said, “As one of the largest renewable mini-grids to be created worldwide, we’d expect it to secure supply for Broken Hill and create at least 260 construction jobs and a further 70 ongoing roles after project completion.”

“Hydrostor is proposing an exciting technology which would establish a mini-grid using compressed air storage in a disused mine, in conjunction with existing local wind and solar generation.

“This initiative would represent an Australian first and the scale of it is impressive.” 

Broken Hill is currently supplied by one transmission line that runs 250km from Buronga, New South Wales near the Victorian border. 

The backup supply to the town is currently provided by two diesel turbines. If the Hydrostor technology is adopted, the mini-grid would supply the town and ongoing mining demand when the transmission line is temporarily out of service for activities like repairs and maintenance.

Transgrid has completed the final stage of the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) for a new back-up supply and after assessing multiple options, identified Hydrostor’s 200MW/1,500MWh compressed air storage as the preferred solution.

Transgrid’s analysis found the clean technology:

  • Provides the highest net benefit for consumers and a reliable back-up supply for 17,000 people who live in Broken Hill
  • Would be able to store up to 200MW of renewable generation which could be made available to meet peak demand, benefiting existing generator customers and electricity consumers
  • Aligns with the strategy of Broken Hill City Council to reach 100 per cent renewable status by 2030, as outlined in its Sustainability Strategy 2018-2023 and Cities Power Partnership Pledge.

“As we continue the transition to renewable energy we must prioritise clean energy solutions which support the nation’s goal of decarbonisation and its leadership in the renewable technology sector,” Ms Jordan said.

Curtis VanWalleghem, Chief Executive Officer of Hydrostor, said, “TransGrid understands the value offered by our A-CAES solution, and we are very pleased to have been selected as the preferred alternative over competing proposals. 

“New South Wales is a global leader with its clean energy policy and net zero ambitions and we are looking forward to commencing our first A-CAES project in Australia.”

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