24/11/2015 - 14:33

China invests in WA battery storage

24/11/2015 - 14:33

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Chinese investors appear increasingly bullish about opportunities in Western Australia’s energy sector, following revelations a division of China’s biggest offshore oil and gas producer, CNOOC, was a significant influence in one of the state’s biggest battery storage trials.

China invests in WA battery storage

Chinese investors appear increasingly bullish about opportunities in Western Australia’s energy sector, following revelations a division of China’s biggest offshore oil and gas producer, CNOOC, was a significant influence in one of the state’s biggest battery storage trials.

Business News can reveal that, following an approach by CNOOC to Horizon Power, the two businesses have today announced a commercially confidential deal to install up to two megawatts of battery storage power in Carnarvon.

The large lithium ion phosphate batteries, to be housed in two shipping containers, will be used to capitalise on Carnarvon’s very high uptake of solar PV in a bid to lower the cost of electricity generation.

The battery storage deal with CNOOC’s Lishen Power comes shortly after a Chinese agency hosted a two-day solar and energy storage conference in Perth, which attracted prominent speakers including Energy Minister Mike Nahan and executives from several Perth and east coast-based energy market players.

It’s envisaged the Carnarvon battery storage trial will allow Horizon Power to reduce the amount of electricity needed to be produced by the area’s primary generator, the diesel and gas-fired 17MW Mungullah power station.

It currently costs 29 cents per kilowatt hour to produce electricity in the region, with subsidies allowing residents to pay 24.6c/kWh.

About 1.3MW of Carnarvon’s average 6MW power demand comes from 121 solar PV systems, making the penetration of renewable energy one of the highest in the state (about 22 per cent).

This has prompted the state, which relies on taxpayers to subsidise electricity up to more than $500 million per annum at peak demand, to explore ways of meeting energy demand at a lower cost with the use of battery storage.

Dr Nahan said if the trial went well, Horizon Power would look to roll-out similar battery storage arrangements in other rural areas.

"This partnership demonstrates the cooperation between China and Western Australia to deliver mutually beneficial energy solutions which will ultimately drive down the operating costs of producing power in the regions," he said.

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