Troy Miller, S&C Electric Company's director of grid solutions, described a storage deployment in the Australian outback where twenty 25-kilowatt/4-hour systems are being deployed for voltage support in a single-wire earth-return (SWER) system architecture used to power rural and remote sites.
"SWER lines are an effective method of economically electrifying remote areas; however, the inherent electrical properties of these lines make them highly susceptible to power-quality problems, mostly around voltage," said Miller.
With SWER lines, "there's one wire that runs across 200, 300, 400 miles" with power returned through the ground, he explained. "It causes all kinds of power-quality issues, and they had very little information about what was actually going on at these particular locations. Farmers would wake up in the morning, try to cook their toast, and turn on the teakettle, and none of it would work. All the farmers were trying to turn on their toasters and teakettles at the same time."
Miller did point out, "One thing that farmers discovered was that if they were able to make the ground wet near the pole, they could basically increase the conductivity around the pole and get better voltage" and use their appliances. S&C offered a different solution.