A renewable energy facility in Springvale South in south Melbourne will be a first in Australia once construction starts – it will be the country’s only utility-scale hub built on a former rubbish dump. The project owners, Progress Power, want to build a 31.5MW solar farm comprising some 54,000 photovoltaic panels and a 115MW battery energy storage system.
Progress Power has consent from the local council, an agreement with a power distribution company, and have completed basic earthworks at the 47ha site, called Springvale Energy Hub. However, before they sought investors, they wanted their development plans peer-reviewed to ensure that the project was technically and commercially viable.
Progress Power turned to Middleton Group’s Sustainable Energy Future Taskforce for this feasibility review. The team of Adam Loucas, Alex Micheli, Roger Brown, Alex Low and Amber Truong have experience in modelling for solar farms and battery storage projects, grid connection and construction, and addressing the constraints that come with a site of this type.
To undertake the review, the team looked at all aspects of the project, including design inputs and methodologies, the design of the solar farm’s components, and a raft of regulations covering the project. They interviewed the geotechnical and electrical engineers to understand their contribution.
The review identified various issues that will need to be addressed at the detailed design stage, and recommended ways to approach these. However, none were deemed to present an impediment to the cost or viability of the project.
As an example, one of those recommendations arose from the fact that building on a capped landfill presents unique challenges. The review outlined an approach to designing the foundations for heavy inverters and battery banks that would accommodate further settlement of the land.
In addition, our engineers also completed a financial model to provide insights into potential earnings over a 12-month period. The model considered the existing electrical design, utility network charges, historical daily spot prices and fees for ongoing connection to the network. They also produced a sensitivity analysis, a comparison of running costs and revenue against different battery capacities.
According to Progress Power director Craig Carter (pictured), “the expertise provided by Middleton Group was invaluable in ensuring that the project was well-positioned for success, setting a solid foundation for the development of a cutting-edge energy storage system in Melbourne.”
Middleton Group Graduate Power Engineer Amber Truong said that the project was exciting to work on given its novelty. “Our clients are extremely passionate about this project, and we collaborated well with them to achieve a good outcome.”
See a video about the project here.
Senior Power Engineer
Senior Power Engineer