SA Water will trial a new 128 kW flywheel energy storage system to capture energy generated by solar arrays at
its Hope Valley Reservoir next year, in an effort to further increase its energy self-sufficiency and contribute to the corporation's goal of achieving zero net electricity costs by 2020.
The highly advanced flywheel technology forms a mechanical battery by converting and storing electrical energy in a rotating mass, and is fast to charge, has unlimited cycling capability and can discharge for up to four hours.
In comparison to chemical batteries, flywheels may also have other benefits such as low energy losses, zero capacity degradation, no chemical reactions or fire hazards, and no end of life disposal challenges.
SA Water Chief Executive Roch Cheroux said the ability to effectively combine storage with renewable generation would make the single biggest difference in the corporation's energy transformation.
"Being able to store the energy we produce and escape the volatility of the electricity spot market will return control to us," he said.
"Flywheels have been around for years and the concept is very sound, but by refining the design, our partners have overcome previous limitations to produce something that is now scalable to utility level.
South Australian, Aboriginal-owned company, Greenfields Energy is the first to bring the modern flywheels to Australia and should the trial prove successful, will investigating options to manufacture them within the state.
This project is part of a suite of renewable energy generation, storage, optimisation and efficiency initiatives being pursued by SA Water to achieve its goal of having zero net electricity costs by 2020.
"We’ve already been reducing our electricity costs by more than $3 million a year since 2013, so we know that with a concerted push, our goal is ambitious, but within reach.
“Sustainably reducing operational expenses like electricity will help us keep water and sewerage services charges as low and stable as possible, and is one way we can contribute to easing cost of living pressures for our customers,” Roch said.
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