Powering the way for the nation’s biggest microgrid

  • Western Power will contribute $300,000 towards a feasibility study to develop a microgrid to improve the reliability of the 140km network between Geraldton and Kalbarri
  • The Kalbarri microgrid is likely to source both solar and wind-generated power

 

Western Power has struck a deal with technology company Enerji to work together on developing an electricity microgrid for the Mid West town of Kalbarri.

Energy Minister Mike Nahan today announced Western Power would contribute $300,000 towards a feasibility study to develop a microgrid, which aims to improve the reliability of the 140km network between Geraldton and Kalbarri.

The six-month study would consider the best way to develop a system that interacted with the network to supply the town and push excess power down the line. The smart system would be able to reverse power flows overnight when stored energy was insufficient to meet demand and disconnect from the larger network should a fault occur.

“The Kalbarri microgrid will be an important test for applying technology in an innovative way to improve electricity supply for regional communities while using the network more sustainably and affordably,” Energy Minister Mike Nahan said.

“This is a model that could be used as a blueprint for other regional areas and help in the development of further renewable generation across the rural edges of the electricity network.”

The Minister said microgrids were suited to regional areas because they could take different shapes, depending on the requirements of each community.

“It really is an exciting time in the electricity industry and these projects put WA at the forefront of the application of new technologies on a large scale,” he said.

“The Kalbarri energy project is just one of the innovative projects the Government is currently exploring to more efficiently and reliably supply electricity to rural and isolated communities. Other projects include Western Power’s development of a microgrid on Garden Island in partnership with Carnegie Wave Energy and its standalone power projects in the Great Southern and southern Wheatbelt, in partnership with Synergy and Horizon Power.”

Enerji said the proposal was likely to combine renewable energy generation from wind and solar, a battery storage solution, and Western Power’s existing network.

“Enerji has identified enormous potential for it to play a central role in delivering innovative energy solutions via the development of microgrid power solution,” the company’s chief executive Andrew Vlahov said.