Power generation and infrastructure firm Wärtsilä and utility partner AGL Energy have completed construction on a 250-MW/250-MWh battery energy storage facility at Torrens Island in South Australia.
The flexible capacity offered by the Torrens Island project will help offset the intermittency of renewable energy resources installed nearby. The battery storage system can provide enough electricity to power close to 75,000 homes for one hour, with potential to extend that duration to four hours in the future.
“Australia’s energy transition is all about balance,” Andrew Tang, vice president of energy storage and optimization at Wärtsilä, said a company statement announcing the end of the construction phase.
“This landmark project is helping Australia take a major step towards a 100% renewable grid and its net-zero emissions target,” Tang added. “We’re proud to say our energy storage system is helping to maintain reliable and affordable electricity for South Australians.”
The Torrens Island system will operate in grid-following mode. Grid-following inverters for the energy resource synchronize output with the overall grid voltage and frequency, but cannot operate alone in island mode separate from main grid connection.
The South Australia BESS could someday transition to grid-forming mode (virtual synchronous generation – VSG), the companies say. The difference with grid-forming mode is that inverters can provide power for microgrids and operate as an islanded (grid-disconnected) resource, according to reports.
Wärtsilä has done numerous energy transition projects with AGL and others in Australia, including the Barker Inlet Power Station also on Torrens Island. The 211-MW Barker Inlet is comprised of 12 Wärtsilä dual-fuel 50DF gas-fired engines to provide dispatchable and flexible power generation as needed.