The Hornsdale Power Reserve has been built on land previously used for cropping and grazing (less than 2 hectares in total, will the Powerpack units occupying less than half of that). Its impact on the local environs will be minimal.
- Environmental studies: Due to its location within the Hornsdale Wind Farm and adjacent to the Mount Lock Substation, the battery site has been subject to numerous environmental studies performed by EBS Ecology over the past several years. No significant ecological value can be attributed, as the site has been cropped for many years.
- Native vegetation: The subject land has been rated the lowest SEB ratio of 0:1, meaning that there has been complete destruction of indigenous understorey (by grazing and/or introduced plants such as cropping). As such, there has been no clearance of native vegetation.
- Visual amenity & noise: The battery will be virtually inaudible until close range. At less than 3 metres in height, the Powerpack units are also low-profile and have minimal impact on visual amenity – particularly since it is co-located with the much larger Mount Lock Substation.
- Geotechnical studies: The area has also been subject to geotechnical studies, which returned positive, low-risk results for suitability of constructing the battery.
- Bushfire: Bushfire risk is relatively low due to the absence of substantial native vegetation and fire mitigation solutions in place.
- Access: Traffic management and transport access is excellent due to road upgrades performed during construction of the Hornsdale Wind Farm.
- Cultural heritage: Finally, no indications of indigenous cultural heritage have been found within the site area during heritage surveys carried out by the Nukunu people. All precautions were taken during construction works and no aboriginal artefact was found.
Taking into account all of the above site conditions, an Environmental Management Plan was developed in consultation with the relevant government agencies and private stakeholders to ensure the Hornsdale Power Reserve was constructed and operates in an environmentally responsible manner.
Human activity is resulting in the release of large amounts of greenhouse gases. Such gases trap the sun’s heat in our atmosphere and upset the delicate balance of the Earth’s climate. Small changes in the temperature of the atmosphere cause accelerated melting of the polar ice caps and rising ocean levels, changes in rainfall patterns, destruction of delicate ecosystems such as coral reefs and increased extreme events such as droughts, hurricanes and cyclones.
Electricity production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. More than a third of Australia’s greenhouse emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity. At present, Australia has the second highest greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electricity produced in the world.
One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to replace fossil fuels with a natural, renewable source of energy such as solar or wind.
Benefits of Battery Energy Storage
With around 50% of its energy supplied by renewables in 2016-2017, South Australia is a world leader in renewable energy. Due to this high penetration of renewables, the state is now also a pioneer in storage technology by supporting the Hornsdale Power Reserve, the largest lithium-ion battery in the world.
In making the transition from fossil fuels to ‘baseload’ renewables, the ability to store and dispatch energy will play a key role. Pumped hydro is an example of longer-term storage; that is, suitable for storing energy and releasing it over days or weeks. However, pumped hydro has a relatively slow ‘ramping’ time and is less suitable for providing rapid-response services to grid contingency events such as outages or heat waves (with high demand created by air-conditioning). Battery storage, such as Tesla’s lithium-ion Powerpack technology, fills this key short-term role.
Below are some of the functions a grid-scale lithium-ion battery may be expected to perform:
- Network security services including Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) and Network Loading Control Ancillary Services (NLCAS);
- System Restart Ancillary Services (SRAS)
- Arbitrage (spot market trading);
- Peak shaving;
- Block/load shifting;
- Renewable firming and smoothing.