A battery to distribute energy only when needed: the green solution launched by Australia

The system stores excess energy during periods of low demand to release it when demand increases

Australia is committed to being at the forefront of the global energy transition, and industries like engineering and construction hold significant influence in enabling the delivery of the Government’s Net Zero 2050 plan.

With the nation’s vast landscape of sun-drenched deserts and windy coastal regions, the country has been making strides in harnessing renewable energy, but a challenge that always remains is the intermittent nature of the climate. Solar and wind power generation can be unpredictable, which poses a potential risk when it comes to implementation in construction.

As the nation seeks sustainable alternatives to traditional power sources, Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) have emerged as a key element, helping facilitate the nation’s transition to a greener and more sustainable future.

What is BESS?

BESS is an innovative solution using bidirectional inverter technology for power storage and energy supply, which helps ensure an uninterrupted supply during fluctuations of power source and demand within the system it is installed.

For any facility, the reliability and availability of power is key to its operations. Traditional gas and diesel driven power generation, relies on generated spinning reserve to achieve power system stability and availability for the facility’s operations. Spinning reserve is extra generating capacity that is usually introduced by running additional power generators. By implementing BESS as energy storage units, the industry can remove the need for additional power generators, with BESS providing a virtual spinning reserve to achieve the same output.

Similarly, when BESS is implemented in a power system with renewables, it is able to smooth out any environmentally driven power fluctuations, e.g. cloud cover of solar panels, by injecting the balance of lost power to the system seamlessly and upholding it until other power sources are made available.

The use of BESS technology is becoming more frequent within electrical network systems, remote sites and industrial facilities on the back of improved battery technology. With the constant improvements being made to the technology as it is implemented, the industry is seeing even better BESS reliability, effectiveness and lower associated cost to procure and install.

The role of Webuild and Clough in the Australian energy revolution

Webuild’s Australian platform, Clough, is a long history delivering project in challenging and remote locations, where they need to be self-sufficient, generating and distributing their own power needs. In addition to enabling greater self-sufficiency, BESS units reduce emissions on facilities by not burning fossil fuels to achieve spinning reserve, they also allow for Power Management of generation systems, store any excess power from primary generators, allow for integration of renewables, offer constructability benefits, and significantly reduced operational and maintenance costs.

The business case for BESS is strong, and the commercial and environmental benefits of BESS units are key drivers in Clough’s decision to embrace their use on projects.

Clough’s design for the Waitsia Gas Project Stage 2, which is set to be complete in 2024, has adopted BESS technology as an integral part of the power generation system. It is the first BESS Clough has incorporated as part of a base design, and marks a major milestone in the Group’s endeavour to contribute to a sustainable future.