This project aims to demonstrate the technical viability and system reliability of a hybrid electricity system involving a large amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy with diesel generation. The project will integrate 1.26 MW of solar PV generation into the existing diesel power station that powers the Doomadgee community in remote Queensland.
Isolated communities in the remote areas of Queensland source electricity from isolated-grids that are predominantly powered using diesel generation. Ergon Energy has introduced a limited amount of renewable energy such as solar into these locations. However, there are technical barriers preventing the installation of large amounts of renewables into these isolated grids. Finding solutions to these technical barriers will help make it possibe to displace diesel fuel systems with high penetration renewable energy as it becomes cost competitive.
Ergon Energy owns and operates 33 standalone power stations in Queensland which supply 38 remote communities, including Doomadgee, typically using diesel generation as the primary source.
Ergon Energy initially installed a 264 kW solar farm to offset approximately eight per cent of the diesel generation used by the Doomadgee community. This helped reduce energy costs as well as alleviate the amount of fuel needed to be stored in case of extended wet seasons when access to the community can be cut for up to half the year.
This new project increases the amount of solar PV being fed into the mini-grid to 1.26 MW, in order to demonstrate the technical viability and system reliability of a high penetration solar PV/diesel hybrid system.
Supporting technologies such as an advanced control system, low-load diesel, stability control and diesel-off capability will also be integrated.
The project will develop Ergon Energy’s technical capability to roll-out high penetration solar PV/diesel hybrid systems into other isolated communities. It will also help high penetration renewable solutions to become cost competitive with diesel through the reduction of future costs of design, construction, maintenance and operation of remote renewable energy generation.
Ergon Energy will share knowledge and experience in the development and operation of remote high penetration solar PV/diesel hybrid isolated systems including the logistical challenges of these systems.
Developing this high penetration solar PV solution, will enable Ergon Energy and the broader market to implement the solution in other remote locations and thereby reduce the cost and risks associated with diesel generation.