Human settlements

Renewable energy

Enabling technologies 04: Remote area energy storage innovations

Renewable Energy Commercialisation in Australia, Australian Greenhouse Office, 2003
NOTE: The status of these projects will have changed since the time of publication, and project contacts may also have changed.

Pinnacle VRB Ltd will use its innovative battery system to store wind energy more efficiently on King Island.

King Island, off the north-west coast of Tasmania, is the site for an innovative new Remote Area Power System (RAPS) that will utilise a new generation battery system in conjunction with wind turbines to provide a reliable and efficient power supply for the island's inhabitants. The battery will absorb short-term fluctuations from the wind turbines and store the excess wind energy for later utilisation. Pinnacle VRB Ltd will supply a large-scale vanadium-redox flow battery for use in this application, thus providing a demonstration unit that will assist in the commercialisation of technology.

The greatest challenge to maximising the use of wind energy is short-term wind variability. These problems are heightened in RAPS applications because unlike on-grid applications, the fluctuations are a relatively large percentage of overall system capacity. Up until now, the available technology has limited the amount of wind energy that could be fed into an isolated system without potentially causing instability in the power frequency and voltage fluctuations. These fluctuations can be detrimental to consumer electrical equipment and power station operation.

In 1998, Hydro Tasmania installed three 250kW wind turbines to feed into King Island's diesel-generated grid. The turbines have reduced diesel consumption on the island by 20 per cent. To improve system stability and increase useable output Pinnacle VRB Ltd will use a grant of $700,000 under the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program to design, build, install and test their Vanadium Energy Storage System on King Island. The battery and inverter system assists in providing system frequency control and reactive power support. In addition, this large-scale flow battery technology uses more environmentally friendly materials than conventional lead-acid batteries.

To date, flow batteries have mainly been used to assist with load levelling for substations and in buildings or in small isolated storage systems. Using them as part of King Island's overall power grid will be the first use of the technology in large-scale remote power supply systems and an excellent opportunity to showcase Australian innovative research and development.

The projected savings from the batteries and overall control system amount to 2800MWh per annum. Hydro Tasmania anticipates that, in addition to substantially reducing the island's dependence on diesel, the project will cut greenhouse emissions by a total of 2000 tonnes of CO2 per annum when fully operational.

Pinnacle VRB Ltd believes the technology being developed on King Island will have national and international application.

For more information please contact

Mark Stedwell
Pinnacle VRB Ltd
Level 5, 140 Queen St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel (03) 9641 4700
Fax (03) 9600 2711

Download PDF

Project details are also available for downloading as PDF files.

Before you download

Some documents are available as PDF files. You will need a PDF reader to view PDF files.
List of PDF readers 

If you are unable to access a publication, please contact us to organise a suitable alternative format.


   Links to another web site
   Opens a pop-up window