Australia’s largest microgrid, Kalbarri, goes online

Kalbarri microgrid infrastructure (regional first nations)
Kalbarri microgrid

Australia’s largest microgrid—the $15 million Kalbarri microgrid—has gone online, using entirely renewable wind and solar power.

First announced in 2016, the microgrid was originally scheduled to come online more than three years ago but has faced multiple delays, during which time the Kalbarri community has faced ongoing energy supply problems and extended outages.

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Now operational, the Kalbarri microgrid will be able to supply 5MW at peak capacity with a 4.5MWh battery that will be able to provide at least 3.5MWh of energy storage. This will provide the town with more power reliability and will significantly reduce the number of outages caused by the town’s location at the end of the long Geraldton feeder line.

The new Kalbarri microgrid is a small-scale power grid connected to the main electricity network to help meet peak demand and improve the reliability of power supply for the town. The microgrid uses local generation and energy storage to provide a supply to the town when the network connection is interrupted.

Microgrids are increasingly being used as a more resilient method to deliver electricity to rural communities as the design is less likely to be interrupted by environmental factors.

Western Power developed the Kalbarri microgrid in partnership with Synergy, the Shire of Northampton and the local community. 

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said, “Improving how energy is delivered in regional areas and delivering better power reliability for Western Australians is an important part of the McGowan Government’s Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap.

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“The Kalbarri microgrid is an important step towards improving power reliability for the local community.

“It also paves the way in delivering greater renewable energy solutions across WA, particularly in regional areas, as we move forward in achieving net zero emissions by 2050.”

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