Improving power to Kalbarri by tapping into local sources
The Western Australian coastal town of Kalbarri can now be powered by an entirely renewable energy solution utilising solar and wind generation coupled with battery storage.
The new Kalbarri microgrid is a small-scale power grid connected to the main electricity network to help meet peak demand and improve the reliability of power supply for the town. The microgrid uses local generation and energy storage to provide a supply to the town when the network connection is interrupted.
Delivering a smarter energy future
The project is one of the largest of its kind in Australia with the capacity to supply 5MW entirely from the connected Synergy wind farm and feed-in from residential rooftop solar.
How it works
The microgrid is connected to the main electricity network but can operate independently by drawing from local renewable energy sources.
Intelligent monitoring equipment within the microgrid will detect a fault in the system and can respond immediately to maintain power supply for the town.
An automated text message alert system will be activated so that when power is interrupted and the microgrid is operating, a notification will be sent to mobile phones so residents can adjust their power usage. Managing power usage will prolong the battery charge while the microgrid is operating and the town is disconnected from the network.
Benefits of the microgrid
The Kalbarri microgrid provides a more reliable power supply for the 1,500 residents and more than 100,000 visitors to the town each year.
It uses leading edge technology to minimise disruptions, and in the event of a network interruption can run independently from the main electricity network. This advanced system will address even momentary outages, responding in milliseconds to maintain a seemingly uninterrupted power supply.
The modular design of the microgrid allows for future renewable generation sources to be integrated as they become available.
The Mid West town of Kalbarri is connected to the network via a 140km long rural feeder line from Geraldton which is exposed to the elements. Interference on the line can cause extended outages.
The Kalbarri microgrid is expected to eliminate 80 percent of outages experienced by the town, and can significantly reduce the length of outages depending on how the power usage being drawn from the microgrid.
What did the Kalbarri locals say?
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