More and more these days we’re hearing media stories about the rise in popularity of ‘big batteries’ and remote battery storage systems. This should come as no surprise; the capability of modern batteries to store renewable energy and the development of integration technologies has led companies to increasingly look to battery storage solutions to manage/enhance/support their operations. It hasn’t hurt that many companies are now seeing costs saving benefits from using battery storage.
Let’s look at some examples of how, when and why businesses are relying on battery power:
Batteries help supply energy to businesses operating remotely
About 2% of Australians live in remote locations and are off-grid, and some of these Australians run small business, relying on battery power to do so. However the big talk at the moment is about battery use in the mining sector. This is partly because Australia’s remote mining sector is growing, pushing up demand for off-grid energy according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Mining behemoth Oz Minerals for instance is looking to develop a giant nickel mine about 800km to the west of Uluru, (near the South Australian/West Australian borders). This location fits the description of ‘middle of nowhere’ and obviously has no existing power supply to tap into. To make the mining project possible, Oz Minerals intends to take advantage of the high quality solar and wind resources available in the region. To do this, they plan to build a 55MW hybrid power plant near the mine which will rely on battery storage to guarantee a consistent energy supply.
For another small project near Port Augusta in South Australia, Oz Minerals intends to harness solar and wind power and to build a 250kW lithium-ion battery for storage.
ARENA has noted that the technological advancements in battery storage and integration technologies means many remote mining companies are now viewing renewable energy stored backed up by batteries as the best form of power to run their operations. As miners embrace renewable battery storage technology, they reduce their dependence on diesel and gas generators which can be incredibly expensive to run when you factor in fuel transport costs.
Battery storage offers greater reliability of supply than many traditional power sources
When the South Australian government collaborated on the install of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in 2017, they were lampooned by traditional coal supporters, including Australia’s current Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The giant battery, which is owned and operated by French renewable company Neoen, built by Tesla, and housed at Hornsdale, was installed in response to the state-wide blackout of 2016.
Many people were sceptical that this giant, untested battery would help ensure reliable, continuous electricity across the state and inter-state. However the battery has surpassed expectations, lowering electricity costs and responding far quicker and far more effectively to grid shortfalls than traditional power sources. Based on the resounding success of the Tesla big battery, more big batteries will be built in Australia in coming years to meet consumer and business demands for reliable electricity.
Batteries can give businesses a route to energy independence
The founder of Australian energy storage company RedFlow, (Simon Hackett) is planning to install 27 zinc bromine flow batteries on his farm in Tasmania. The batteries will store energy from solar panels onsite and will essentially set the farm up on its own micro-grid. Mr Hackett wanted the farm business to be completely energy independent and the fact that he intends to start up an eco-tourism business at the farm only reinforces the value of relying on solar power. While this particular Tasmanian farm project, which involves connecting seven different farm buildings to the micro-grid, will be something of an experiment, there’s little doubt that more and more farmers will be looking to utilise renewable energy battery storage to meet their energy needs.
If you’re interested in how battery storage could help your business cut costs and enhance energy reliability contact us today.