ABB synchronous condensers are enabling the new Darlington Point Solar Farm in New South Wales to feed a large amount of clean electricity into the local power network while maintaining grid stability and reliability. The 275 MW (AC), 333 MW (DC) solar photovoltaic (PV) farm commenced operation in August 2020. With a projected annual output of 685,000 MWh it is currently the largest solar farm connected to Australia’s grid.
Octopus Investments partnered with solar developer, Edify Energy to build the solar farm and see it as an important step in transitioning the country’s electricity sector from coal and gas fired power stations to renewable energy. The solar farm features nearly one million solar panels spread over 1,000 hectares. It will provide clean electricity for around 115,000 homes, saving up to 583,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
“Solar farms of this scale will become increasingly essential for the expansion of renewable energy in Australia,” said Sam Reynolds, Octopus Investments Australia Managing Director. “This comes with the challenge of ensuring new facilities can operate reliably on the power grid and maintain system strength. With two synchronous condensers, we’re confident this project can be seen as a trailblazing template for the future of renewables in Australia and beyond.”
The ABB synchronous condensers are large rotating machines developed to mimic the operation of coal or gas fired generators that historically gave power grids the spinning inertia essential to maintain a stable voltage. They support the connection to TransGrid’s high voltage transmission network by providing reactive power compensation and additional short circuit power capacity.
A key benefit of the synchronous condensers is their ability to contribute to short circuit capacity in weak networks so that the network can easily ride through any fault conditions and avoid loss of power in the region. At Darlington Point Solar Farm, the units are crucial in helping to strengthen the power grid in a part of New South Wales where it is challenging for new projects to meet the stringent connection requirements.
Mike Briggs, Business Line Manager for ABB Motion in Australia said, “we’re proud to be supplying our synchronous condenser units for the Darlington Point Solar Farm project. They will add system strength to the power grid, helping to manage the ongoing integration of renewable energy generation. It’s a complete synergy with ABB’s mission to support a sustainable future.”
ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 110,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. www.abb.com