16.05.2023 Innovation, Technology

CEGASA implements a sustainable microgrid system in the Arkaroola Nature Sanctuary in Australia

CEGASA implements a sustainable microgrid system in the Arkaroola Nature Sanctuary in Australia

Thanks to a project led by Apex Energy Australia and funded by the Australian Government under the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund - Microgrids programme. The aim is to provide the area with a sustainable source of renewable energy and reduce dependence on external fuel sources.

The project, which is in the implementation phase after 18 months of research, design and evaluation of different options, includes a comprehensive solution to optimise the use of renewable energy and manage energy demand in the area. Since the 1960s, the Sanctuary's electricity supply has been based on diesel generators that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The medium-term goal is to operate solely on 100% electric and renewable energy.

In a first phase, a solar and battery microgrid, integrated with the existing diesel generator system, has been chosen, the design of which took into account numerous considerations, from infrastructure, site factors, equipment requirements, stakeholder engagement and integration of communication systems, among others.

Following a thorough assessment of conditions and needs, an off-grid system based on the Australian-made Selectronic SP Pro 120v inverter/charger architecture has been installed and paired with 121 kWh of CEGASA's eBick 280 Pro lithium battery storage and 99 kWp of roof-mounted solar panels. The result is a system where capacity can be easily added without the need for major system restructuring.

Its daily operating cycle varies throughout the seasons and occupancy rates. An energy monitoring system implemented by Arkaroola Village in 2019 provided valuable information on energy requirements and identified that periods of high energy demand occur in the coldest months of the year, when visitor numbers are highest and heating is required.

Thus, low summer occupancy may mean that on some days no generator input is required, while periods of high visitor occupancy during the winter will require intensive input. In the first two weeks of operation, preliminary data suggests that diesel fuel consumption has been reduced by 50%.

Over the next 12 months, a review of the microgrid system and proven technologies will be conducted to assess the benefits, successes and learnings from the project. Expected results include a reduction in diesel fuel consumption of approximately 15,000 litres per year and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 126 tonnes.

Ramón Ugarte, commercial director of batteries and lithium-ion systems at CEGASA, said that the implementation of a microgrid system is an important step towards providing a sustainable source of renewable energy in a remote community and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. "CEGASA is proud to bring our expertise in batteries and lithium-ion systems to optimise energy management at the Arkaroola Nature Sanctuary and ensure its energy efficiency. This project is a great example of how renewable energy and smart energy management solutions can help communities become more sustainable and energy efficient. We look forward to continuing to work on similar initiatives".


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