SA Water is planning to install 35MWh of energy storage coupled with 152MWs of solar in the next two years as it moves toward its goal of achieving zero net power costs by 2020, the South Australia company announced on April 23.
The company, which spent A$55 million ($42 million) on 220GWh of power in 2016-17, has not released details of the projects but confirmed they will include storage capacity at around 70 sites across the state.
A company official told ESJB that because they were only just beginning the procurement processes for this activity, the level of detail — such as total cost savings — were being kept within its business to protect their commercial position.
However, the company has been trialling storage technologies alongside PV arrays during two projects — 50kWh of lead acid storage from Ecoult at its Crystal Brook workshop and a 128kWh flywheel by South Australian, company, Greenfields Energy at its Hope Valley Reservoir site.
The official said the selection and acquisition of storage for the new projects would be informed by these trials “currently being progressed with specialist technology partners”.
He said: “The 35MW of storage will be installed over the next two years, but installation of the solar will take priority, with the storage to follow.”
SA Water chief executive Roch Cheroux said that locating generation behind the meter would improve the company’s resilience to grid interruptions, reduce network charges and isolate their business from electricity market price volatility, in both the short and long-term.
“The maturity of solar technology has allowed us to confidently determine how and where it can assume supply for our energy-intensive water treatment and pumping operations, and export to the market to return revenue,” he said.
The company has already cut more than A$3 million a year from its electricity bills since 2013 using energy initiatives including biogas and hydroelectric generation, and trading as a market participant.