Marble Bar and Nullagine Power Stations
Marble Bar's Pippunyah Power Station and the nearby Nullagine Power Station combine state-of-the-art technology to deliver clean energy to two of the country's hottest towns.
The power stations incorporate a single axis tracking solar farm with diesel technology and an energy storage system. This combination of technology can provide high levels of solar energy penetration and a reliable supply of power to the town.
The new power stations:
- Generate 1048 MWh of solar energy per year
- Provide 65 per cent of day time energy demand from solar power
- Save 1100 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year
- Save between 35-40 per cent diesel consumption per year (405,000 litres of fuel per year)
The Marble Bar and Nullagine Power Station Project received $4.9 million Australian Government funding through the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP). RRPGP is implemented in Western Australia by the Public Utilities Office.
Click on the questions below to see their corresponding answers.
- Why are these power stations needed?
- The project replace ageing power stations with modern, efficient and more environmentally-friendly power stations that meet the needs of local communities for the next 20 years. The new power stations are significantly quieter than the previous power stations, which have been operating since 1973.
- How will these power stations work?
- During the day, the solar modules capture the solar radiation from the sun, converting it to electrical energy. This energy is sent directly to the distribution network. At certain times the solar modules will produce more energy than the local system can use so this excess energy will be diverted to the flywheel (a large spinning mass) where it will be stored as mechanical (kinetic) energy. When electricity production from the solar farm drops or demand from the local network increases, the energy stored in the flywheel is released into the network. In order to ensure power reliability and stability a diesel power station operates in conjunction with each solar farm. A specially designed control system manages electricity produced from both the diesel power station and solar farm to maximise energy from the solar modules, thus significantly reducing diesel usage.
- How big are the solar farms?
- The solar farm will cover an area of 4700m2 in Marble Bar and 5100m2 in Nullagine. The modules themselves are tilted to track the sun, are a few metres off the ground and are 2.5 metres wide. They are a modern design and are an impressive presentation of the latest technology.
- What does a power station do?
- A power station operates by converting one form of energy, diesel fuel, wind energy or solar radiation into electrical energy. In a diesel power station, diesel fuel engines convert the energy in diesel fuel into mechanical energy by rotating a shaft in the engine. This shaft is connected to a generator which in turn converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy. In a solar system, solar radiation from the sun is converted into electrical energy by the interaction of photons of light and the crystals in the material used to make the solar panels. This electrical energy is then sent via power electronics through wires to a distribution network to households and businesses where it is used.
- How much did this project cost?
- The project cost $27.7 million. Horizon Power's analysis of the investment associated with installing the solar-diesel stations shows that the hybrid renewable solution delivers better value than equivalent diesel-only generation over the 20 year life of the asset.
Community & Customer Relations Manager
Telephone: (08) 9173 8283
Last updated: Thursday, 5 April 2012 11:58 AM