WA is set to shine with two new power stations that use green energy. The station at Kwinana is a $130 million, gas-operated and privately-owned complex. The second station opened today in Marble Bar and is the world’s first that combines renewable and traditional sources of generation. It incorporates a single-axis tracking solar farm with diesel technology and a flywheel-energy storage system.
State Energy Minister Peter Collier officially opened Kwinana’s 120-megawatt ‘Swift Power’ station, which is operated by the Ky Cao-led Perth Energy.
he gas-fired power station is said to have quick response capabilities, taking just five minutes to reach full capacity.
“This will assist with increasing Western Australia’s capacity to manage intermittent power on the grid from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar,” Mr Collier said.
“The station will also increase reliability of supply during high demand periods and add significant security during system emergencies through its capacity to quickly switch fuels from gas to diesel.”
The extra power capacity to WA will make it easier on the state’s grid system, particularly during hot days in summer when air conditioners can put pressure on the system.
The opening of the Perth Energy power station also follows the State Government’s cap on Verve Energy’s total capacity at 3000MW.
Perth Energy on its website said Verve is currently producing some 34000MW of power however that will decrease when some of the utility’s oldest plants retire in the next several years.
The plant will also help the grid accommodate more renewable energy generation, helping the government achieves its share of the national target of 20 per cent by 2020.
The Marble Bar-based Horizon Power’s Pippunyah power station was today opened by Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore.
Mr Moore said it was the first time a combination of technology – solar and diesel – was used in the world.
He said it ensured the plant had a very high level of solar energy penetration and a reliable supply of power to the town. Marble Bar, in the east Pilbara, is Australia’s hottest town.
“The station is powered by the biggest tracking solar farm in Australia,” he said.
“The 1350 panels – an award-winning design of SunPower – move on their axis to follow the path of the sun and produce a generating capacity of 1160kW.” Mr Moore said regional WA, particularly the Pilbara, was critical to the rest of the nation and the State Government was proud to support leading-edge technology that was efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly.
Pippunyah Solar Diesel Power Station was only one of many renewable energy projects under development by Horizon Power, including solar-diesel stations in the remote Aboriginal towns of Kalumburu and Yungngore (Noonkanbah).
The Marble Bar station started powering the town in May but its testing program was only finished at the end of July.
The station is named by the community’s Njamal people after the river that runs beneath it.
The same solar-diesel hybrid generation model has been used to develop and build a power station at Nullagine, 88km south of Marble Bar.
This station, powered by 900 single-axis tracking solar panels, is under construction and expected to start supplying the town in October.