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Kalbarri microgrid

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.

Download project fact sheet

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.

Notifications

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.

Project background

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.

Further information

Kalbarri microgrid
The microgrid features a 4.5MWh battery which will be able to supply 5MW of peak capacity with at least 2MWh of energy storage. That's a lot of MW! Additional supply will be provided through renewable energy from residential rooftop solar and a local wind farm. The design allows for future renewable generation sources to be integrated as they become available.
3 MW
Peaks of energy demand in Kalbarri
1.6 MW
will be supplied by the wind farm
1 MW
will be supplied by rooftop solar
2 MWh
will be supplied by back up battery

What did the Kalbarri locals say?

“The medical centre has their own generator… but again the generator doesn’t cover everything. I would love to see a more reliable power supply for Kalbarri."
Christine Holt
Kalbarri Resident
“If my power is down, I can’t do anything because I highly rely on electricity to run all my different contracts which range from Department of Transport to Human Services... As far as businesses are concerned, once the EFTPOS machine is down, it opens another whole kettle of fish.”
Margi Peet
Kalbarri Community Resource Centre
“I think the impact will be fabulous and in fact it’s very, very important that Kalbarri regains its reputation as one of the premium holiday spots in tourism in Western Australia.”
Shane Love
Member for Moore
“Batteries will only last so long but I think it will cover a lot of the outages. Especially when it’s got support from wind and hopefully some sun also.”
Daryl Brown
Western Power
“People want the power on all the time. They want to turn the switch on and the power is on. Great stuff, great initiative, great way for the future.”
John Simpson
Western Power
“Businesses will just be happier, yeah people will be happier. I think it’s a good relationship that they’ve listened and are working hard to do something about it.”
Tracey Grosvenor
Kalbarri Visitor Centre