Western Power community battery unlocks Kalgoorlie’s solar future

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A Western Power stand-alone power system

WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Energy Minister Bill Johnston today announced that Kalgoorlie-Boulder will receive the region’s first community battery.

Located on Dart Street, Western Power’s utility-grade battery will be integrated into the network, improving power quality and providing benefits for the entire community by smoothing the daytime and peak-time load periods.

It will also enable homes and businesses in Kalgoorlie to continue integrating more rooftop solar and new technologies onto the grid.

The rollout of community batteries is a key action of the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, which was released by Minister Johnston in April 2020.

In 2018, the McGowan Government completed an initial feasibility study into opportunities for solar in the Goldfields.

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As part of the study, a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) was identified as a potential option to provide better power management and improve reliability, which is fundamental to enabling the economic development and growth of the region.

A key component of the VPP is the integration of energy storage and Western Power’s community battery was identified as the most cost-effective and quickest way to achieve this.

From October, Synergy will recruit 50 eligible regional customers via the PowerBank partnership with Western Power. Customers will be able to make the most of their solar system by virtually storing excess energy generated – of up to 8kWh a day.  

The rollout of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder community battery has been enabled by the McGowan Government’s recent Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019 passing State Parliament. 

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Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said, “This is a great example of the way regional areas enthusiastically embrace new technologies, and a positive result from our Government’s feasibility study into opportunities for solar in the Goldfields.

“While this community battery is initially being used for network purposes, we look forward to seeing how it, and other new technology opportunities being investigated by the Government, will be used to benefit the Kalgoorlie-Boulder community and industry.”

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the community battery program is another example of the McGowan Government creating a cleaner, greener energy future for Western Australians.

“This exciting project demonstrates the growing number of opportunities for integrating batteries into an established network and highlights another aspect of the Government’s Future Battery Industry Strategy at work,” he said.

“Thank you to Western Power and Synergy who continue to deliver innovative and important projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.”