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Coober Pedy Renewable Hybrid Project

Coober Pedy is an iconic mining town in South Australia and, like many remote locations, relied on diesel-fired generators to provide electricity.

Energy Developments has built, owns and operates the Coober Pedy Renewable Hybrid Power Project (Project).

This innovative Project has combined 4MW wind, 1MW solar, a 1MW/500kWhr battery and other enabling and integration technologies to provide the town of Coober Pedy with approximately 70% renewable energy over the 20 year life of the Project. The Project has been integrated with Energy Developments’ existing 3.9MW diesel power station which remains available when there are no renewable energy sources available. The project construction commenced on 1 April 2016, and was delivered successfully over a 15 month period, with the commercial operation commencing on 1 July 2017. Below are some key highlights of the project:

Les Pullen Photography for Senvion Australia
  • Completed safely with no lost time injuries recorded in over 45,000 hours of site work
  • Completed on-time and on-budget
  • Achieved significant engagement of local contractors, with approximately 16% of site hours, and significant aspects of the construction work having been undertaken by local contractors
  • Assisted in up-skilling of local contractors through exposure to various aspects of hybrid power plant construction including solar panel installation, installation of balance of plant and wind turbine installation
  • Development of local skills levels by recruiting a full time operator for the hybrid system from the local community
  • Development of local skills by on-going engagement of local contractors for certain maintenance tasks, as well as major project contractors during warranty period
  • Since October 2017, the project has exceeded the target 70% renewable energy, including operating entirely on renewable energy for almost 50% of the time

The Australian Renewal Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing up to $18.4 million funding support.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said “The Coober Pedy Project is a prime example of Australia’s world-leading expertise in devising renewable micro-grid solutions with strong export potential.”

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said “The Coober Pedy Project is a prime example of Australia’s world-leading expertise in devising renewable micro-grid solutions with strong export potential.”

“This is a next-generation off-grid project, taking advantage of advanced renewable and enabling technologies that have already been successfully trialled at off-grid locations such as King Island,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“Combining wind, solar, battery storage and smart control systems could provide a blueprint for off-grid communities to access cleaner and cheaper power and achieve energy independence by greatly reducing their reliance on trucked-in diesel.”

The Project is underpinned by a 20 year power purchase agreement with the District Council of Coober Pedy (DCCP). The DCCP receives support for the cost of power from the South Australian Government under the Remote Areas Energy Supplies scheme.

Live Data for Coober Pedy Hybrid Power Station

The Coober Pedy Power Station is setting global benchmarks for renewable penetration in a MW-scale islanded grid. The project is demonstrating what can be achieved technically in the integration of renewables with thermal generation while retaining reliable supply and power quality.

The dashboard shows in real-time the sources of energy powering Coober Pedy. This provides the Coober Pedy community and wider public, information on how wind, solar, batteries, and enabling technologies are all utilised to meet the power needs of the town safely and reliably.

Click here to view Coober Pedy’s renewable hybrid power generation in real time with Energy Developments’ live data dashboard.

Click here to view Coober Pedy’s renewable hybrid power generation in real time with Energy Developments’ live data dashboard.

Need

In off-grid locations, renewable energy has unique advantages over fossil fuels for the supply of power. Many remote Australian communities rely on diesel generators. Diesel generation is comparatively expensive and the volatility of future fuel prices can create cost uncertainty. Transporting diesel fuel long distances to the generators is also costly, hazardous and affected by variable weather conditions in remote locations.

Project Innovation

The Project will achieve amongst the highest renewable energy penetration in Australia at approximately 70% over the life of the Project. The project has exceeded this target since October 2017. This means that 70% of the current diesel fuel consumed at the Coober Pedy Power Station would be replaced by renewable energy. Coober Pedy has abundant wind and solar resources that complement each other very well. Combining the night-dominant wind resource and daytime solar generation with advanced, proven enabling technologies (resistor, short-term storage and fast start diesel generators) has significantly reduced diesel consumption.

At the design phase of the project it was estimated that the town’s total power requirements would be supplied entirely by renewable energy approximately 50% of the time, with partial supply from renewable energy (supported by diesel power) during the other 50% of the time. Since commencement of the project the town has been powered by 100% renewable energy for slightly under 50% of the time. This means ZERO diesel consumption for almost half the year, including the most impressive performance of 100% renewable energy for 71 continuous hours.

Details of the equipment installed at the project is available here – (98 KB)

Benefit

This Project is expected to provide a lower and more stable cost of electricity over the project life for the District Council of Coober Pedy and the South Australian Government. Reliable power supply will be maintained while diesel consumption is reduced, improving the environmental footprint.

The successful development of this project demonstrates the credibility and reliability of renewable hybrid energy systems for off-grid communities and mine sites. EDL is actively replicating this type of renewable hybrid energy generation in other remote areas of Australia.

Contact Information

Todd Gordon, Growth Manager for Renewables, Energy Developments Pty Ltd
Phone: +61 8 9365 4961
Email: cprhp@edl.com.au

The Coober Pedy Project is a prime example of Australia’s world-leading expertise in devising renewable micro-grid solutions with strong export potential.

This is a next-generation off-grid project, taking advantage of advanced renewable and enabling technologies that have already been successfully trialled at off-grid locations such as King Island.

– Ivor Frischknect, CEO, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)