Schneider, Planet Ark Power Win Grant for Renewable Microgrid in South Australia

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Australian-based Planet Ark Power and multinational partner Schneider Electric have won a $1.95 million grant towards a $13.9 million renewable microgrid at a major distribution center in South Australia’s capital city Adelaide.

The project includes a microgrid management system governing 5.7 MW of solar photovoltaics and 2.9 MWh of battery storage. Project assets will integrate with the electric distribution management system operated by private utility SA Power Networks.

The grant was announced by the South Australian state government as part of four new energy storage projects assisted by $8 million from its Renewable Technology Fund. The fund is designed to accelerate the transformation to the next generation of renewable energy technologies.

“The Renewable Technology Fund is harnesses this momentum so we can drive new projects and establish South Australia as a global hub for the storage of renewable energy,” said Tom Koutsantonis, energy minister.

The projects range from batteries and hydrogen fuel cells to thermal storage using sewage.

The renewable microgrid will demonstrate how to power the future energy supply both locally and globally, according to Jonathan Ruddick, general manager for Planet Ark Power 

“The microgrid allows the full potential of renewable energy to be harnessed by dealing with the intermittent nature of solar. This project is an example of South Australian leadership in building a stable and affordable energy future,” Ruddick said.

Gareth O’Reilly, regional managing director of Schneider Electric added, “By integrating solar and storage with our microgrid capabilities into our advanced distribution management system we will deliver increased grid resilience and energy security.”

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The state announced the $150 million Renewable Technology Fund last March as a key pillar of the government’s energy plan. Companies from around the world have already submitted over 80 proposals for technologies that include batteries, bioenergy, pumped hydro, thermal, compressed air and hydrogen. A portion of the fund has already been allocated to the grid-scale Tesla battery currently being built by Neoen near Jamestown in South Australia’s mid-north region.

Planet Ark Power is an Australian energy developer specializing in commercial solar and battery systems. Schneider Electric, a multinational corporation, specializes in energy management and automation systems.

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