New ARENA-backed project combines second-hand wind turbines, solar and battery to power a remote mine in WA

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Port Gregory Wind Farm (PGWF) Pty Ltd has secured $3 million funding from ARENA to build grid-connected wind, solar and lithium-ion battery project in Port Gregory, near Kalbarri.

Developed by Perth based Advanced Energy Resources (AER), the project will consist of a hybrid 2.5 MW wind farm, 1 MW solar farm and a 2 MW / 0.5 MWh battery that will provide power to a remote mine in Western Australia, run by GMA Garnet (GMA).

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said AER will build, own and operate the site, due to be commissioned in December.

“Fringe-of-grid communities in mid-west Western Australia suffer from network outages, so this is a great step forward in creating a template for other electricity users in similar conditions, to replicate and reduce electricity costs and improve reliability and stability,” he added.

The project will also use second-hand wind turbines from northern Germany which were decommissioned and refurbished in Australia by AER.

“In Europe, there is a significant market for refurbished wind turbines, as wind farms increase their capacity by upgrading smaller turbines for larger, more powerful ones,” Mr Miller noted.

“Now, AER has brought experience from the European market to enable them to give these turbines a second life in Western Australia,”

AER Managing Director Luca Castelli said the project will also use ‘a novel approach’ to resolving the challenges of connecting large amounts of renewable energy to weak, fringe-of-grid locations by using ‘back-to-back inverter topology’.

“With ARENA’s support, AER will showcase an innovative way of delivering low cost, reliable renewable energy to large energy users in fringe of grid areas in a project that delivers several Australian-first ideas,” he said.

“By thinking outside the box, we’ve been able to commercialise a new approach to energy storage and renewable energy project delivery which will change the way that renewable energy generators are delivered in weak, fringe of grid areas and by customers who are unable to commit to long term power purchase agreements.”

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Image credit: arena.gov.au