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Left of centre thinking dead on target for Hackathon winners

The winning innovation designs for the Great Southern’s energy future will be viewed by some of WA’s most influential business and energy leaders today at Perth Arena.

The designs were born and judged during Western Power’s energy hackathon last month – where teams were challenged to embrace new technology and renewable energy options to deliver a model for Albany’s energy self-sufficiency.

Albany engineers Darryl Outhwaite, and Mitch Lever were one half of team ‘Pure Power’ whose renewable energy and biofuel proposal took out the top prize.

The pair admitted they weren’t confident going in to the event, especially as the format meant they had 36 hours to put together a team and a proposal to take on established names in the WA energy market.

“We’d never met team mates Brendon (Crown) or Eric (Whittaker) before the event. After some very brief introductions we set about delivering what we believed would combine the best technology and renewables to make the town a net exporter to the Great Southern region,” Mr Outhwaite said.

 “We went with a ‘no regrets’ option for energy generation that not only uses the abundance of renewables in the area but incorporates effective waste management - through a biomass energy facility - solving two problems at once .”

 The team believe their winning approach will help make Albany stand out to the rest of Australia and even the world, as a hub of alternative and renewable energy options.

Western Power Executive Manager of Change and Innovation Fiona Bishop said the Pure Power winning entry, along with the runner up ‘Resting Chuditch’ and People’s choice award winners ‘Kleen and Green’, showed the depth of innovation coming from WA.

“From the outset we wanted the hackathon to not just be about the network, but go beyond conventional thinking to find ways of unlocking the potential of the grid to deliver solutions for our community,” Ms Bishop said.

“Pure Power’s proposal wasn’t just a good outcome for the Albany region, in terms of energy self-sufficiency, but also the broader community in utilising a waste to biofuels solution. It was their holistic community-minded approach that nudged them over the line.”

Ms Bishop said that Western Power will spend the next six months working with Pure Power, nurturing and incubating their idea to see if it can become a network reality.

Western Power will also be making a $5,000 donation to Pure Power’s chosen charity, the Albany Community Foundation.

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