Canadian Solar will undertake studies to determine the feasibility of using grid forming inverters to address grid connection challenges in Western Victoria at the proposed 150 MW Carwarp Solar Farm.
Canadian Solar undertook a study at Carwarp in the West Murray Zone of the National Electricity Network (NEM), which has suffered extensive issues of decreased system security. The combination of a distance from synchronous generators and increased levels of inverter based renewable energy installation in the region led to a number of system strength issues.
The project tested the case for installation of a large-scale battery energy system (BESS) at the proposed 150 MW Carwarp Solar Farm with a grid forming inverter to provide system strength to the network. The modelling provided valuable knowledge to AEMO of the potential for grid-forming BESS technology.
The grid connection challenge encountered by the 150 MW Carwarp Solar Farm is considered to be an example of the challenge encountered by many other projects under development in weak areas of the electricity grid. Other projects have responded by installing synchronous condensers. However, synchronous condensers are an expensive and antiquated technology. Therefore, modelling studies are being undertaken to develop a modern system strength solution of a battery with grid forming inverters.
The battery solution will require extensive grid connection modelling to the satisfaction of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). Steady state and dynamic PSS/E modelling and system strength PSCAD modelling will be performed to progress the connection process with AEMO. The connection process will consider connection of both the Carwarp Solar Farm and the battery with grid forming inverters, such that the impact of the battery project on the Carwarp Solar Farm and the wider network can be determined.
The project will help other renewable developers and AEMO understand whether grid forming inverters and battery storage is a credible option to resolve grid connection challenges in weak grids. If batteries are determined to be a credible technical solution, this would result in:
- reduced grid connection barriers and risks
- faster commercialisation of battery storage
- reduced need for synchronous condensers (and therefore lower cost renewables).