CURRENTLY used in remote communities to regulate the unreliable electricity supply, the Grid Power Support System [GPSS]—designed and produced by Perth-based Magellan Power—could also promote the implementation of renewable energy generators in Australia.
Masoud Abshar, managing director of Magellan says the GPSS—a shipping container-sized system comprising of lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, an Inverter, a battery monitoring system and distribution boards—regulates, levels and corrects power factors of the grid, increasing stability and economising power by up to 30 per cent.
As some regional centres in WA restrict deployment of solar PV due to possible energy load limitations on current grid systems, innovations such as the GPSS are able to regulate the input of renewable energy, strengthening the case for a solar alternative throughout the country.
“If there is excess power in the grid, due to solar injection for example, the system extracts the power from the grid, puts it into a battery and returns it back into the grid when it’s needed,” Mr Abshar says adding the system could sustain the community’s power supply for 4 hours in a blackout.
“Because solar panels are becoming very affordable and cheap source of energy, you could feed solar, wind and diesel into this system to ensure the availability of power.
“You would have a totally hybrid power system that can support a community, be stable and uninterruptable,” he says.
Developed in 2010 by Magellan and initially used in isolated Queensland by Ergon Energy, the GPSS is plugged directly into the community’s grid.
The system focuses on issues produced by the dated Single Earth Wire Return [SWER] lines, which have been in place since WWII and do not have the capacity to handle modern energy requirements or input from renewable energy sources.
At a production cost of just under $200,000 the GPSS outweighs the millions of dollars it would take to replace the SWER lines in remote areas.
The company’s metropolitan-focused model, the GPSS-SP, has received interest from WA power suppliers and mining companies—who use it to regulate electricity in their employee accommodation on mine sites.
Greg Combet—the Federal Minister for Climate Change—recently visited Magellan’s production site in Bibra Lake after the company received a government grant for the commercialisation of the system.
The GPSS’s ability to use solar arrays has the potential to expedite the use of renewable energy as a key part of the electricity grid infrastructure, a spokesperson for the minister stated.