- Future power needs for country residents the focus of new pilot project
A new $4 million stand-alone power system pilot project, which aims to shape the future of how electricity can be delivered to rural and remote West Australians, has been announced by the Liberal National Government.
Energy Minister Mike Nahan said six properties in regional areas would trial the new stand-alone electricity systems, which were made up of solar panels and battery storage, while remaining connected to Western Power's grid.
Dr Nahan said the 12-month pilot program was being delivered in partnership by Western Power, regional electricity provider Horizon Power and electricity retailer Synergy.
"This stand-alone power system pilot is an exciting new initiative that has the potential to deliver alternative electricity supply solutions for West Australians living in rural and remote areas," he said.
"The pilot will help us explore the right mix of technology and service to make stand-alone solutions another option when maintaining or replacing ageing power poles and lines."
During the pilot, Western Power will support six rural households located around Ravensthorpe, Lake King and Ongerup, which will each have solar panels, battery storage, an inverter and a backup diesel generator installed on their properties.
The Minister said participating households would document the experience of having their electricity supplied via the stand-alone system rather than the traditional poles and wires.
"Western Power is using its expertise to provide the right power solutions for the right customers and Horizon Power, with its knowledge in microgrids, led the engineering and procurement process for the project," he said.
"If the trial is successful, Western Power will investigate the future use of the systems as part of a solution for other edge-of-grid customers."
This project is the second of its type in Western Australia after Horizon Power installed five stand-alone systems in a WA-first, in the wake of the Esperance bushfires.