Sunstate Cement
Mon, 22nd May 2023

Sunstate Cement Helps Stabilise the Queensland Grid

Customer Background

Proudly Australian owned and Queensland made, Sunstate Cement Ltd. is one of Australia’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of high-quality cement products to commercial businesses throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales. With a capacity to produce over 1.5 million tonnes of cement per year, Sunstate Cement Ltd. has a long history as a major contributor to Queensland’s largest and most impressive infrastructure projects.

Sustainability is one of Sunstate Cement’s core values and they are committed to long term actions to minimise environmental impact responsibly and economically. They continuously aim to exceed environmental compliance requirements.

The Challenge

Sunstate’s strategically located Port of Brisbane plant was already participating in Demand Response & RERT programs which assist AEMO to stabilise the grid. To increase their levels of grid participation, help reduce CO2 emissions and generate additional revenue, the more lucrative FCAS (Frequency Control Ancillary Services) market was the logical next step to support Sunstate’s business goals.

VIOTAS was engaged to investigate how this could be done most effectively via the plant’s cement mills, to maximise return and reduce emissions during the plant’s off-peak energy operating schedule.

The Solution

VIOTAS Field Operations visited the Port of Brisbane plant to meet the on-site operations and technical teams, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the mills and auxiliary loads.

A dedicated Technical Discovery phase was undertaken to analyse how the mills could participate in the Frequency Response (FCAS) markets. Sunstate’s on-site teams agreed that direct tripping of their 11kV breakers was doable and would not cause any significant issues. Through this process, it was determined that the mills could deliver approximately 4MW of curtailable load in <1second, to help stabilise and decarbonise the grid in times of need.

A comprehensive design and works program for the installation, testing, and commissioning of VIOTAS’ core technology VIO Link, was developed and implemented in full consultation with Sunstate Cement from start to finish. Disruptions to site operations were minimised through successful collaboration between VIOTAS and the Port of Brisbane Mill teams.

Sunstate Cement Port of Brisbane plant

The Result

VIOTAS entered the Port of Brisbane plant into the FCAS markets in late July 2022. Less than 3 weeks later, Queensland experienced a constraint on the interconnector with NSW, which resulted in a spike in FCAS prices. This coincided with a period where the mills were in full operation, so Sunstate was available to participate and maximise their revenue in return.

VIO Link Demand Side Flexibility technology has allowed Sunstate Cement to establish and use their operational flexibility to support AEMO in stabilising the grid’s frequency for all energy users.

“Sunstate’s capacity utilization has been ramping up in recent times, requiring higher power generation requirements through the daily peak and off-peak load cycle. As one of Queensland’s largest power users, it became an important objective for us to be able to help balance Queensland’s energy network and be appropriately rewarded at the same time. VIOTAS’ solution helps us to balance these operational objectives efficiently and safely.

Michael Fullelove, Operations Manager, Sunstate Cement Ltd