The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has approved A$6 million of funding for the country’s first compress air energy storage (CAES) project.
US-firm Hydrostor will convert a disused zinc mine in South Australia into a below-ground air-storage cavern. The 5MW /10MWh demonstration plant will provide load shifting, frequency regulation and grid security. The Angas mine is currently a brownfield site in a state of “care and maintenance”. The company had been looking for a site in Australia since summer 2017.
The latest funds add to A$3 million it has received from the South Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Technology Fund.
“While being a commercial demonstration at this stage, Hydrostor’s innovative way to store energy with air could add to Australia’s grid-scale storage capability, complementing pumped hydro and batteries,” said Darren Miller, CEO, ARENA.
“Compressed air storage has the potential to provide similar benefits to pumped hydro energy storage, however it has the added benefits of being flexible with location and topography, such as utilising a cavern already created at a disused mine site,” added Miller.
South Australia has become a hotbed for emerging energy storage technologies. A major blackout event in the territory in 2016 exposed the grid’s unsuitability for a modern power generation mix. Since then, the Tesla “100 days” battery install, lithium battery trials and the world's largest virtual power plant have all been deployed.