Innovative ABB technology helps Australian power provider to match peaks and troughs in electricity demand

An ABB hybrid power storage, diesel generation and grid stabilization system is being implemented by the Australian power provider, AusNet Services, as a way to enhance the management of peak electricity demand in the state of Victoria.

Victoria is Australia’s most densely populated state, and its 5.8 million people are mostly concentrated in the region around Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of the state capital and the country’s second largest city, Melbourne.

AusNet Services provides gas and electricity to 1.3 million homes and businesses in Victoria and is the largest energy supplier in the state. Part of its mission is to explore new technologies as a way to balance power demand in the state.


AusNet Services is therefore studying how an innovative non-network technology can efficiently manage demand that exceeds network capacity, as an alternative to augmenting the network with expensive upgrades, or asking customers to reduce power loads.

Pilot test takes off

The two-year pilot project deploys ABB’s hybrid energy storage, diesel generation and grid stabilization solution to provide sufficient energy to meet peak power demand on a power line in suburban Melbourne.

At full power, the 1-megawatt (MW) pilot system will automatically provide additional power for the 22 (kV) distribution network during periods of peak demand. It can operate at full power for one hour and provide electricity for about 300 homes.

The turnkey solution comprises ABB’s Microgrid Plus distributed control system and PowerStore™ grid stabilization and includes a 3-megavolt ampere (MVA) mobile substation and a backup diesel generator.  The battery is supplied by ABB’s project partner, Samsung SDI.

When power demand exceeds capacity Energy networks are real-time systems that manage supply and demand moment-by-moment, explains John Theunissen, manager of network modernization at AusNet Services.  Yet asset and network utilization not uniform during the day or even the year, so there might only be a few occasions when capacity is exceeded.

The question is, how do operators efficiently manage demand on those occasions when it exceeds capacity?


A great advantage of ABB’s solution is “it doesn’t affect our customers at all,” says Theunissen. “We don’t have to ask them to reduce their load during the peak demand season. But the real beauty of the solution is that it is energy-dynamic – we use it to match the peaks and troughs in demand. We use the power stored in the battery during the peaks when demand is high, and recharge the battery during the troughs when demand is low.”

The solution is portable and housed in outdoor containers for easy deployment. In addition to matching peaks and troughs, the system is being monitored for its ability to improve power quality and provide islanding capability for grid maintenance.

ABB is also responsible for power system modelling and grid connection compliance, design and testing, manufacture and assembly, installation and commissioning, and is providing AusNet Services with support for the two-year duration of the trial.


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