Coober Pedy is an iconic mining town in South Australia and, like many remote locations, relies on diesel-fired generators to provide electricity.
EDL has built, owns and operates the Coober Pedy Renewable Hybrid Power Project (Project).
This innovative Project has combined 4MW wind, 1MW solar, a 1MW/500kWhr battery and other enabling and integration technologies to provide the town of Coober Pedy with approximately 70% renewable energy over the 20 year life of the Project. The Project has been integrated with Energy Developments’ existing 3.9MW diesel power station which provides power when there are no renewable energy sources available. The project entered commercial operation on 1 July 2017 and is currently completing a settling-in period during which the system is gradually ramped up to achieve 70% renewable energy penetration.
The Australian Renewal Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing up to $18.4 million funding support.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said “The Coober Pedy Project is a prime example of Australia’s world-leading expertise in devising renewable micro-grid solutions with strong export potential.”
“This is a next-generation off-grid project, taking advantage of advanced renewable and enabling technologies that have already been successfully trialled at off-grid locations such as King Island,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“Combining wind, solar, battery storage and smart control systems could provide a blueprint for off-grid communities to access cleaner and cheaper power and achieve energy independence by greatly reducing their reliance on trucked-in diesel.”
The Project is underpinned by a 20 year power purchase agreement with the District Council of Coober Pedy, supported by the South Australian Government.
In off-grid locations, renewable energy has unique advantages over fossil fuels. Many remote Australian communities rely on diesel generators. Diesel generation is comparatively expensive and the volatility of future fuel prices can create cost uncertainty. Transporting diesel fuel long distances to the generators is also costly, hazardous and affected by variable weather conditions in remote locations.
The Project will achieve amongst the highest renewable energy penetration in Australia at approximately 70% over the life of the Project. This means that 70% of the current diesel fuel consumed at the Coober Pedy Power Station would be replaced by renewable energy. Coober Pedy has abundant wind and solar resources that complement each other very well. The sun shines through the day and there are relatively strong winds through the night. Combining the two renewable energy sources with advanced, proven enabling technologies (resistor, short-term storage and fast start diesel generators) will significantly reduce diesel consumption.
The town’s total power requirements are expected to be supplied entirely by renewable energy approximately 50% of the time, with partial supply from renewable energy (supported by diesel power) during the other 50% of the time.
This Project is expected to provide a lower and more stable cost of electricity over the project life for the District Council of Coober Pedy and the South Australian Government. Reliable power supply will be maintained while diesel consumption is reduced, improving the environmental footprint.
Development of this project in a remote location like Coober Pedy will pave the way for EDL to replicate this type of renewable hybrid energy generation in other remote areas of Australia.
The Coober Pedy Project is a prime example of Australia’s world-leading expertise in devising renewable micro-grid solutions with strong export potential.
This is a next-generation off-grid project, taking advantage of advanced renewable and enabling technologies that have already been successfully trialled at off-grid locations such as King Island.
– Ivor Frischknect, CEO, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)