Solving remote power: How Optimal solved a complex energy challenge for Santos

Project Notes

Site Owner:Santos

Commission date:July, 2020

System components:1,000 kW Capstone C1000S Natural Gas Microturbine
250 kW 5B Solar, Jinko Panels
Optimal Ultra-Capacitor Grid Stability Module
Comap Controller
Harmonic Filtration

Cogeneration capacity:

Fuel source:High pressure, natural gas

System application:Hybrid Microgrid stand alone power system. Power only as no requirement for thermal energy.

Key outcomes

Alternative solutions considered by Santos were heavily impacted by the demanding load profiles occurring at the facility. Gas engines, while providing high electrical efficiency at full load, require dynamic load banks to respond to load changes and reliably operate.

Any solar integrated would also increase the levels of spinning reserve required.  This negatively impacts the net fuel consumption of the site.

This solution engineered, project managed, installed and commissioned by Optimal has reduced the sites gas consumption and emissions by 50%.


This project demonstrated several key innovations on this project. Capstone turbines make use of an integrated battery system to manage load peaks and troughs in stand-alone (off grid) applications. Although the turbine package could meet the highly cyclic loads from the site, it would dramatically shorten the life of these batteries, Optimal designed an ultra-capacitor module to significantly reduce the size of these peaks and troughs.

A predictive algorithm discharges ultracapacitor storage during a cyclic peak (as opposed to normal increases in total demand), and then signals to recharge the storage as the demand falls below the cyclic average. The net effect of this is to reduce the size of the 250 kW cycle by 80%, reducing the demand seen by the turbine and integrated battery system. This also enabled Optimal to integrate a solar PV system which further improved fuel efficiency.

This is all seamlessly integrated through a Comap control system to manage the site demand and energy generation and storage systems.

Santos, as one of Australia’s leading Oil & Gas companies, operates Oil & Gas facilities in some of the harshest climates and conditions possible. In the far South West corner of Queensland sits a remote oil field, which requires reliable power, 24/7.

A central power-house provides power to hundreds of linear rod pumps, connected via approximately 100 km of HV powerlines. The cycling of these pumps, amplified over the total number operating, creates an extremely variable electrical load profile. Traditionally, this power was generated by a large gas turbine, which through its size and inertia was able to support the highly variable load, albeit inefficiently. Loads can peak and trough over 250 kW every six to eight seconds. 

As the existing power generation assets were coming to end of life, Santos looked to the market for a more efficient solution, which ideally would include renewables as part of the solution, as the company seeks to reduce its emissions related to production.
Optimal designed a solution which met the objectives outlined by Santos and their consultants, GPA. Our solution delivered in the order of a 50% reduction in fuel and emissions for this facility.