Horizon Power deploys new tech for greener microgrids

Aerial shot of Onslow's microgrid (microgrids horizon)
Microgrid in Onslow, Western Australia

Western Australian energy provider Horizon Power is deploying new, industry-leading technology to integrate distributed energy resources (DER) in microgrids across regional and remote parts of the state. 

The energy management technology, called a distributed energy resources (DER) management system, enables utility-owned energy resources, such as power stations, solar farms, and batteries, to be safely integrated with distributed customer owned energy resources, such as rooftop solar, batteries, and electric vehicles. 

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Horizon Power general manager technology and digital transformation Ray Achemedei said the company was leading the industry to make it easier to install rooftop solar and provide a pathway to decarbonised energy systems. 

“With approximately 60 per cent of Horizon Power’s energy systems currently dealing with limits on rooftop solar, deploying a distributed energy resources management system will increase solar access for our customers, lower their energy bills, and help reduce emissions,” Achemedei said. 

“This deployment is ground-breaking as it enables rooftop solar, customer batteries, electric vehicles, centralised solar and batteries, and the traditional centralised power station to all work together in a coordinated way to maximise renewable energy supply, without adversely impacting power quality and reliability.”

The DER management system will be deployed in Broome at the start of next year. It will then be progressively deployed across all Horizon Power’s other systems by mid-2024. 

This announcement follows the success of Horizon Power’s Onslow Renewable Energy Project where Horizon Power was the first utility to deploy a DER management system to orchestrate a regional microgrid in Australia. 

The technology enabled more than four times the amount of rooftop solar to be installed than in a traditional energy system and in a demonstration of its capabilities last year successfully powered Onslow with 100 per cent clean, green solar and battery power for 100 minutes. 

“This is the technology that will underpin the transition to 100 per cent renewable towns,” Achemedei said. 

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“We are transforming energy systems across regional and remote Western Australia to accommodate new fuels, new generation, new technologies, and the new ways in which energy is used. 

“We’re tackling the challenges of the energy transition head on—from centralised to decentralised; one-way to bi-directional, multi-directional flows of electricity; fossil-fuels to a decarbonised system; utility-led to customer and community driven,” he said. 

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