Australia will use one of its largest and newest wind farms to officially prove that wind farms are truly able to contribute to energy security.
The basic goal of the trial is to show that wind farms can offer frequency control and ancillary services (FCAS), which are a very important aspect in making sure grids will be stable in the event of unexpected voltage swings and other problems. As many people believe, only gas and coal generators can provide “inertia” to the grid, and this trial will be conducted to debunk such a myth.
The experiment will involve the newly constructed 100 mW Hornsdale 2 wind farm located in South Australia. It will also see the participation of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and will be financed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Commenting on the significance of the test, Franck Woitiez of Neoen (the company that owns the Hornsdale complex) said:
“The importance of this test is that if it works as expected that is very good news for the integration of more renewable energy in the grid.
“Traditionally, FCAS has been provided only by fossil fuel generators – gas and coal. This will show that wind can provide the same stability services as baseload, and that its contribution is broader than just providing sustainable and cheaper electricity.”
According to AEMO, using wind farms to offer FCAS will present more choices on fuel and, eventually, lead to lower energy prices. Currently, Australia is experiencing huge price increases as there are only a few gas generators providing FCAS in the country.
Aside from the Hornsdale 2 facility, there is also the Hornsdale 3, which is scheduled to be completed in July this year.