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Battery trial set for South Canterbury

Alpine Energy is about to embark on a project to better understand the impact of battery storage technology on its own business and that of its end users. The long-term trial will be undertaken by Alpine Energy in partnership with local renewable energy specialists, Infratec Ltd.

Alpine Energy anticipates there will be opportunities for farming operators and industrial companies of all sizes, and ultimately home owners to utilise battery storage technology.

Battery storage technology is decreasing in price faster than originally predicted, presenting opportunities for the electricity network to use the technology as a network management tool and potentially a new customer product, says Alpine Energy chief executive Andrew Tombs.

“This trial will develop and evaluate potential customer deployed battery system scenarios and how this might impact our network.

“This includes impact on local transformers, voltage performance, power quality and interoperability. There is also an opportunity to expand the trial to include solar photovoltaic, micro-wind and electric vehicle charging,” he says.

Recent advancements in energy storage technology could make renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, truly viable economic alternatives to fossil fuels when it comes to generating power. The ability to store power bridges the reliability gaps that can occur with renewables.

Infratec will manage the trial for a five-year term of the Transpower Demand Response programme and then before handing management of what is believed to be the largest grid connected battery in New Zealand over to Alpine Energy.

Simply Energy is partnering with Alpine Energy to manage settlement of the battery’s energy flows into the New Zealand Electricity Market and to identify and test the battery’s capabilities and understand the operational requirements for commercialisation.

“By combining Alpine’s physical asset capability with Simply Energy’s Electricity Market expertise we can see a broad range of product offerings that will be attractive to our existing commercial customer base and network companies” says Stephen Peterson, CEO of Simply Energy.

“We are excited at the opportunity to be at the forefront of bringing new products to market.”