Optimal Sizing of Stand Alone Power Systems to Avoid Capital Expenditure on Rural Distribution Networks

Welsh, Daniel (2021) Optimal Sizing of Stand Alone Power Systems to Avoid Capital Expenditure on Rural Distribution Networks. [USQ Project]

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The recent 2019-2020 bush re events resulted in NSW regional distribution network service provider Essential Energy, recording its largest loss of rural distribution network assets to date. An innovative solution to overcome time constraints associated with re-establishing electrical supply to impacted customers was to trial the installation of stand alone power systems (SAPS).

The utilisation of renewable technologies and battery storage systems indicate that SAPS are becoming a cost viable solution compared to standard customer grid connections. This research project investigates whether the installation of SAP systems results in improved grid economics and performance at extreme fringe-of-grid areas that have high operational or investment costs per customer served.

Data shows as the customer density decreases, the annual cost per kilometer of network incurs a higher average cost per customer connection. The aim is to create solutions that reduce the annual cost per kilometer that network operators incur maintaining or establishing this type of customer connection. In return realised benefits include an overall reduction in customer electricity availability charges, reduced bushfire risk and increased reliability in energy solutions to meet customer needs.

Three distinct configurations incorporating trial site, optimal and network system solutions have been analysed. Performance and life-cycle cost parameters completed in accordance with the Australian Standards AS/NZS_4509.2 and AS/NZS_4536, then optimised utilising Homer Pro software modelling. Results have been evaluated against each system to determine the optimal configuration based on key performance metrics, with a priority focus on Net Present Value (NPV) outcomes.

Financial and performance modelling indicate circumstances when SAPS achieve a financial cost reduction for the DNSP in delivering electricity to grid-edge customers in rural areas. Variability in outcomes are significantly influenced by SAP system sizing techniques. When economical analysis of rural customer sites demonstrates DNSP expenses greater than revenues earned, a SAP solutions financial viability is significantly improved.

Outcomes from this research project shall be directly applied to industry and assist in establishing best practices when assessing viable sites for SAPS network solutions.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Ahfock, Tony
Qualification: Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Power)
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2023 05:27
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 03:13
Uncontrolled Keywords: bushfire, stand alone power system, SAPS, renewable, battery, fringe-of-grid, net present value, NPV,
URI: https://sear.unisq.edu.au/id/eprint/51851

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