Banking on batteries

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Woodside’s progress into a lower-carbon world has taken another step forward with the decision to install a 1MW battery on Goodwyn A (GWA) platform.

The lithium-ion battery will save gas, and therefore increase revenue, plus reduce Woodside’s carbon emissions. The battery will allow one of the four gas-powered turbines on the platform to be switched off. In the event of one of the three remaining generators tripping, the battery will provide what is known as a “spinning reserve” – allowing up to one hour to maintain continuity of power while a generator is re-started.

“Because the battery allows us to switch off one of the four generators, it means a saving in fuel gas for Woodside and a lower carbon footprint – it’s a win-win,” says commercialisation manager Nancy Nguyen, who has been working on the project.

Nancy says Woodside is capitalising on the “battery boom”, which has seen prices plummet around 75% over recent times, to help achieve its target of a five per cent increase in energy efficiency over the next five years. The initiative has been the result of many months of work between Technology, Operations, Engineering, and Development.

Installation on GWA platform will require structural work to the platform to contain the relatively small but heavy bank of batteries and its control module. “I’ve also been really impressed with the engagement of the offshore workforce to get involved and make this a success,” says one of the key proponents, Ryan Beccarelli, operations manager North West Shelf gas.

Ryan identified the possibilities of battery power on a visit last August to Sandfire’s DeGrussa copper and gold mine, 900km north east of Perth, to inspect the DeGrussa Solar Project. Set over 20 hectares, the mine’s 10MW solar array and 6MW battery system is the largest integrated off-grid solar and battery storage facility in Australia.

Ryan says he realised when he saw the simplicity of the operation that it could be implemented offshore. “We added it as an opportunity in the 2017 budget and built our plan to prototype small on GWA with a 1MW system,” he explains. If all goes well with the trial, the next target might be Rankin, and then a floating production storage and offloading facility.

Lourens Jacobs, principal development engineer, says: “The same principle would apply to Rankin and the onshore assets; bigger batteries would allow you to switch off bigger generators and therefore save more fuel.”

Nancy adds: “It’s the ‘think smart, start small, scale up’ principle.” She agrees the “big prize” would be onshore, where a battery of 35MW could provide spinning reserve to both Karratha Gas Plant and Pluto Plant. “In the short to medium term it will produce savings and energy efficiencies but in the long term it will allow us to investigate how we leverage this capability in house,” she says.

Lourens says Technology is keen to explore other uses for batteries. “It’s a question of how we might be able to take advantage of such disruptive technologies and not just see them as a threat,” he says. “We’re asking: is this something that we can bring into our business and complement our core capabilities?” The batteries are scheduled to be commissioned in Q2 next year.


 

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Trunkline Q3 2017​​​​