Who are Linked Energy: Formed in 2010, Linked Group Services was established to provide trade services to the Mining Industry, along with a strong focus on implementing renewable energy solutions. Now trading as Linked Energy and Linked Mining we have grown from a small team of just six to now employing over one hundred people. Over that time we have been proven to be a highly competitive on both cost and quality of services, having not only survived the mining downturn but actually flourishing and continuing to grow. Not content to just survive and grow we have always strived to stand out from the crowd and hence Linked Energy has designed and manufactured a number of innovative products such as the ECO-Hub, ECO-Habitat, ECO-Port and ECO-Rail. These products demonstrate not only the capability but the diversity of our company today.
Why Go Off-Grid: In early 2016 my it was decided, having leased a premises for the last eight years, that the time had come to purchase land and construct our own purpose built complex. The “Linked Powerhouse” as it affectionately has become known, is a showcase of what is possible with today’s technologies.
It allows us to taking control of our energy costs and security. It demonstrates firsthand to our clients that is not only possible but an economical way of securing their energy and business futures.
Equipment Choices: The opportunity to take a commercial business off the grid not only opens a world of options but a mine field of choices.
We often talk to our clients about CPR for their business. Consumption/Production/Reduction. Having analysed our own consumption and modelled future expansion with the increased capacity at the new “Linked Powerhouse” site, we knew that we needed a three phase 50kVA supply that could be increased in the future. After researching many storage and inverter/charger options we decided that the TESLA PowerPack would best suit our needs offering a modulated solution that we can expand as required.
Having meet our Consumption requirement this then lead us to investigate the required Production components of the system primarily being the back-up generator and solar. The alternative of a gas fired micro-turbine offered many advantages over a conventional diesel generator. Primarily the instantaneous response capability of a gas fired Capstone Micro Turbine was what stood out as key reason for choosing it as the back-up generator. This allowed us to provide smooth clean power no matter what the load characteristics produced onsite, especially from our fabrication workshop.
The solar production needed to take the form of a micro-grid due to nature of the site with multiple buildings and carparking areas. This is where we integrated one of our own products the “ECO-PORT™” in the form of a six bay solar carport and a twenty metre long second story patio roof on the office. These structures house some 40kW of Solar modules and another 60kW of solar is mounted on the roofs of the workshop and warehouse along with 5kW of Glass/Glass modules incorporated into the front window façade of the office complex. Fronius and Enphase grid connect inverters were chosen to convert the sunlight to usable energy due to both the quality and versatility of integration with the other system components.
Reduction at the site has been achieved primarily through the use of LED lighting and Geo-Thermal Air Conditioning.
Integration: With so many different products from various manufactures having to operate together the obvious choice for us to manage this integration was via the use of a PLC or HSC(hybrid supervisory controller) this allows us to control all components simultaneously and manage our energy on both a reactive and predictive basis. With HMI’s and Data networks that give us access and control locally and worldwide.
Installation and Operation: As a first time installation combining some many different technologies we have faced and overcome numerous challenges but the learnings we have achieved will prove invaluable when implementing similar solutions for our clients