EESA awarded contract for supply of LV control and instrumentation cable for the Synchronous condenser project in Port Augusta
South Australia is a world leader in renewable energy generation.
As more of these energy sources such as wind and solar are connected to the grid, traditional power generation sources such as gas-fired units, operate less often. This has created a shortfall in system strength, which was declared by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) on 13 October 2017 and a shortfall in inertia which was declared on 24 December 2018. To respond to this need and strengthen our energy network, Electranet is installing synchronous condensers at two locations in regional South Australia.
The importance of system strength and inertia A secure power system needs adequate levels of both system strength and inertia. System strength relates to the ability of a power system to manage changes in supply or demand while maintaining stable voltage levels. In South Australia, system strength is provided by gas-fired units, transmission lines, power transformers and voltage control equipment. Inertia relates to the ability of a power system to manage fluctuations in supply or demand while maintaining stable system frequency. It is mostly provided by large rotating electrical machines that help to maintain the frequency of the power system. Both are important to ensure a secure power supply for customers. If there is not enough of these services, there is an increased risk of system instability and supply interruptions.
The installation of synchronous condensers will ensure there is adequate minimum levels of both system strength and inertia. What is a synchronous condenser? A synchronous condenser works in a similar way to large electric motors and generators. It spins freely to manage changes in system strength, inertia, and voltage control to provide a reliable power supply.
These machines will also be fitted with flywheels to provide the level of rotating inertia required. The synchronous condensers to be installed at Davenport are each 8 metres long, 5.6m high and weigh 172 tonnes. That’s the length of two Toyota Corolla sedans parked end-to-end, almost as tall as an AFL goal post and the weight of more than two Boeing 737 airplanes.