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Report finds innovative energy solution improve regional reliability

Western Power revealed its stand-alone power system (SPS) pilot, in the Great Southern region of WA, has delivered 15 fold reliability improvement for regional customers.

The $4 million 12-month pilot reduced the average time of outages for the six pilot properties, to less than five hours, with two properties recording no outages at all.

The Report outlines the contrast to surrounding community members experiencing average outages of almost 70 hours over the same period.

Western Power CEO Guy Chalkley said the pilot proves that innovative technology solutions improve customer reliability.

“The pilot has proven that SPS units work and supply a level of reliability to edge-of-grid customers that’s almost on par with metropolitan reliability levels,” Mr Chalkley said.

Western Power has identified more than 3,000 families and businesses that could benefit from this technology, which would represent a smarter investment in the grid than traditional poles and wires.

Mr Chalkley said: “Early modelling shows that SPS could reduce network cost by more than $300 million, with the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars as solar and batteries costs come down.”

“SPS offers an alternative to poles and powerlines during upgrade and replacement for edge of grid customers, which would reduce network operating costs for metro and regional customers.”

Western Power is keen to expand the initiative however under regulations drafted before alternative technologies were prevalent, are precluded from generating energy. The Company recently committed to supplying the six properties via the SPS  for a further three years, in the hope that regulatory certainty will green light the future use of SPS.

These types of non-traditional energy solutions have the potential to deliver new jobs and skills in regional locations, to support industries of the future.

“We want to provide the service that’s in the best interest of our customers. As a utility it means supplying people with electricity in a way that’s safe, reliable and efficient,” said Mr Chalkley.

Fast facts

  • SPS units combine solar photovoltaic (PV), battery and a diesel generator.
  • 92 per cent of the power needs of the customer were met by the solar and battery components of the system.
  • The trial has brought trial participants reliability to almost on par with average metropolitan levels of 99.9%.
  • In June 2017, Western Power requested a rule change seeking to use alternative energy solutions as part of our network services:
  • Western Power’s other pilot programs being is a community Battery Energy Storage System for the town of Perenjori.  

Find out more about the new technologies Western Power is trialling.

Western Power is a State Government owned corporation that is committed to providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to more than one million customers across a network area of 255,064 km2