Warwick Solar Farm
Client: Terrain Solar for the University of Queensland
Location: Queensland, Australia
Date: 2017 - 2018
Supporting a top Australian university to generate 100 per cent of its own renewable electricity
With a goal of becoming the first university in the world to generate 100 per cent of its electricity from its own renewable energy asset, the University of Queensland embarked on the development of the Warwick Solar Farm.
The 154 ha solar farm site is about 5 km north of Warwick in the Southern Downs region of Queensland and uses single-axis tracking (SAT) technology. The project comprises two immediately adjacent identical sites, because the capacity of the 33 kV connecting lines were not rated high enough to accommodate the full 64 MW generation capacity. Therefore, Warwick Solar Farm was split into two equal parts connecting to different 33 kV lines.
Jointly with the University of Queensland, renewable energy developer Terrain Solar led the site selection, land agreements, development approval, and connection agreement aspects of the project. Entura’s Grid Connection and Power Systems Studies team successfully undertook the Generator Performance Standard (GPS) compliance studies for the client. Due to the two identical adjacent plants, two separate connection agreements were needed.
This project was one of Entura’s first solar farm connection studies. We conducted numerous simulations using PSSE and PSCAD software to assess the solar farm’s performance against specific clauses in the National Electricity Rules (NER), and submitted the assessment to Ergon and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) for due diligence. We exemplified team work and project management skills to meet client expectations and manage the uncertainty associated with modelling studies. Our team was congratulated by the client for their support, professionalism, patience and perseverance, as well as their expertise in navigating the extensive PSCAD modelling required.
The scope of Entura’s engagement included modelling of Warwick Solar Farm, conducting steady state and dynamic studies to assess compliance of the solar farm against Chapter 5 of the NER using PSS/E, preparation of the connection study report, Releasable User Guide, GPS, dynamic model acceptance testing (PSCAD benchmarking), generator datasheets and solar farm capability curves.
- connection studies (steady state and dynamic)
- generator and power system modelling (PSSE and PSCAD)
- GPS compliance assessment
- model validation testing
- PSSE and PSCAD benchmarking
- power quality analysis
- technical support to project developer during NSP/AEMO due diligence phase
Entura’s role as the consultant for grid studies enabled the project to get connection approval from AEMO and Energy Queensland. Due to the two sites, we had to double the GPS assessment, studies and documentation, but we were able to find efficiencies through implementing automation solutions.
The solar farm is expected to generate more electricity than the university requires (160,000 MWh per annum), meaning there is interest in future storage opportunities such as batteries, thermal energy storage (chilled water), pumped hydro or hydrogen technologies.
The project’s success will support the university in reaching its goal of generating 100 per cent of its electricity from its own renewable asset and has produced an inspiring example of sustainability for current and future students.