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Broken Hill Mine to be Repurposed for Air Compression Energy System

Posted 24 Oct '22

New Air Compression Energy System Technology for Broken Hill


In collaboration with the Australian Government, ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) has reported it will be funding Hydrostor Inc with a conditional $45 million of funds to develop a 200 MW / 1600 MWh fuel free energy storage facility using their A-CAES technology (Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage) to repurpose an inactive mine at Broken Hill, NSW.

The compressed air project is set to be one of the worlds largest, with the capacity of at least 8 hours of energy production.

The system utilises the use of compressed air in times of low electricity prices and continues to store energy, and when periods of high demand arrive, it releases the stored energy through a turbo expander to generate energy.

TransGrid, a supporter of the project announced earlier this year that the Hydrostor’s A-CAES technology is the preferred option in the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T) to provide energy security for Broken Hill with at least 250MWh of energy stored.

The RIT-T (Regulatory Investment test for transmission) is a public cost benefit analysis test that electricity transmission network service providers must apply to potential prescribed (regulated) investments in the transmission network that exceed $6 million.

The air compression technology is an alternative option as opposed to Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) for large amounts of energy storage. Both these systems have similar price points, as well as added benefits including site flexibility, quicker development / construction times, and environmental benefits.

The Hydrostor’s technology site flexibility allows for more specific solutions such as capturing new value streams, fringe-of-grid applications for Broken Hill, Renewable Energy Zones (REZs), and off-grid systems.

Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) are considered to be the renewable equivalent of a power station, combing renewable sources to ensure energy security and affordability that is also clean and reliable.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said new technologies for medium duration will help improve the economics of energy storage and give us a range of options for our future energy storage needs.

“Whether it be through pumped hydro, or innovative solutions like compressed air storage, medium and long duration storage is going to be vital to supplying power during the evening and morning peak-demand periods as Australia looks towards achieving 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030.”

“Hydrostor’s innovative solution provides us with another option to add to the mix. As a fuel-free storage technology, compressed air storage technology has similar applications to pumped hydro, such as providing dispatchability required to ensure reliability of the power system as more solar and wind power is installed.”

 “In Australia’s regional towns at the fringe of the grid such as Broken Hill, new large scale storage technologies can provide back-up power to communities that will improve the reliability of electricity supply. Having more grid scale storage will also support more solar and wind in regional areas,” he said.


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