Smart grid gets green light in Western Australia

$600 milllion wind farm to be built by Vestas Australian Wind Technology and is expected to generate 206MW of power

US-based company, American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC), has been brought on to build a smart grid for the 111 turbine Collgar wind farm in Western Australia.

The smart grid will feature 24 dynamic VAR (D-VAR) modules integrated with smart-switched capacitor banks and controls. The units are designed to correct voltage instability and provide dynamic voltage control.

The $600 million farm is being constructed by Dutch-owned wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas Australian Wind Technology, and is expected to generate 206MW of power. Collgar represents the single biggest grid interconnection deal landed by AMSC globally and is the largest order for Vestas in Australia.

“Australia was among the first countries to adopt dynamic voltage control requirements for wind farms connecting to the utility grid,” AMSC senior vice-president, Timothy Poor, said in a statement. “Globally, we expect more countries will adopt similar strict dynamic voltage control requirements to effectively control power flows.

The green power industry is being assisted by the Renewable Energy Target Scheme, which requires 20 per cent of all Australia’s electricity be generated by renewable energy by 2020.

The site is 25km south-east of Merredin in WA. It is owned by UBS International Infrastructure Fund and Retail Employees Superannuation Trust (REST).

During 2006-2007, Vestas was forced to close down its Australian manufacturing plants due to lack of business. At the time, the company blamed the Howard Government’s lack of a renewable energy target for the closure.

At a recent event in Sydney, IT services provider, Logica, said smart grids would provide a gold mine of opportunity for businesses and resellers.