Tailem Bend 2 Hybrid Project - grid connection studies
Client: Vena Energy
Location: South Australia
Date: 2019 - 2021
Enabling grid connection for a solar and battery hybrid project
To support Australia’s energy transition and emissions reduction goals, far greater quantities of renewable energy generation, energy storage and firming solutions will be needed as coal-fired generation progressively retires from the National Electricity Market.
Vena Energy’s solar and BESS projects at Tailem Bend, located 100 km south-east of Adelaide, South Australia, will provide both renewable energy generation and storage, supporting South Australia’s target of achieving 100% net renewables by 2030.
The first phase of the Tailem Bend Solar Project was completed and connected to the grid in early 2019 with a generation capacity of 95 MW. The second stage of the project will add a further 87 MW of new generation capacity and a 41.5 MW battery energy storage system (BESS).
Vena Energy engaged Entura to undertake a full GPS (generator performance standard) grid connection study that addressed the connection application for the second stage of the project. We also provided consultancy services for the overall power plant controller and configuration.
The major technical challenges for Entura were ensuring that the Tailem Bend 2 Hybrid Project connected in next to the prior Tailem Bend Solar Project without compromising the performance of Tailem Bend 1 while still meeting the requirements of ElectraNet and AEMO for Tailem Bend 2. This required careful planning of how to implement an effective solution. Our team was able to manage the complex logistics of working with multiple OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to achieve an elegant outcome that will require only a minor change to the Tailem Bend 1 controller just prior to the connection of Tailem Bend 2.
A further challenge was getting the hybrid controller to control the battery and solar components across the operational range of the hybrid plant. Our team developed a strong working relationship with the OEM, sharing the documentation burden and collaborating on settings changes. A strength of the process was regular meetings to work together proactively to address and resolve issues. Strong, positive relationships were built up with ElectraNet and the AEMO team assigned to the project as well.
Entura’s studies delivered confidence that the standards proposed could be met across the full range of operational states.
Vena Energy submitted the initial Tailem Bend 2 PV + BESS GPS package to ElectraNet in 2020 and the project achieved an offer to connect in 2021. Our team’s contribution towards this achievement was appreciated by our client and other stakeholders. The inverter OEM, Power Electronics, noted the pleasure of working with our ‘effective and proactive’ team.
Our client recognised the submission of the GPS for this cutting-edge hybrid grid-connected project involving PV and BESS as a significant milestone. It paved the way for further stages of the project’s development, including due diligence and a full impact assessment process, and ultimately the achievement of financial close in July 2022.
Construction is now underway on the Tailem Bend 2 project. Once completed and operational, the solar farm and BESS will make a very significant contribution to South Australia’s production of clean energy and abatement of greenhouse gas emissions, estimated at a reduction of more than 207,000 tonnes of carbon abatement. It is also expected to make a positive economic contribution to the local and regional community through jobs in construction, operation and maintenance and through local procurement.
[Image courtesy of Vena Energy]