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Provision of Services for Disconnected Microgrid WS314946691

The organisation

Western Power is a Western Australian State Government owned corporation which is responsible for building, maintaining and operating an electricity network which connects over 1.1 million customers to traditional and renewable energy sources.

Problem statement

Western Power’s aging distribution network (415v to 33kV) is approaching end of life in many areas, with replacement cost presenting a significant challenge particularly in remote locations.  For small rural towns near the edge of the grid, the sustainability issue in replacing the network can be compounded by poor reliability, with customers experiencing frequent power interruptions due to stretches of bare overhead conductor sometimes hundreds of kilometres long.

In Midwest/Wheatbelt/ Great Southern areas, these towns have peak loads in the order of a few hundred kilowatts and daily average kWh usage of in the order of few hundred kilowatt hours for the majority of the year. The demand increases during grain receivals, roughly Nov/Dec to in about 1000 kWh per day during weekdays. 

Preliminary Feasibility (PF) assessments indicated that, in some cases the rebuilding of the network presents significantly higher cost than providing a supply to the same load via a Disconnected Microgrid (DMG).  A DMG is an isolated self-supported network operating independently from the rest of the grid.  It is supported by a battery providing power control, significant renewable generation (PV was used in the PF) and a backup conventional diesel generator. It is similar to a stand-alone power system (SPS) but services more than 5 customers.  It is expected that over the life of the DMG generation asset elements of the DMG will require replacement.

About the opportunity

Western Power aims to identify any third parties capable of providing a disconnected microgrid (DMG) supplying a small rural town in the Mid West, Wheatbelt or Great Southern area.

The response required is either a:

  • CAPEX Solution (Western Power owned, operated and maintained asset);
  • OPEX Solution (vendor owned, operated and maintained asset); or
  • A combination of both CAPEX and OPEX solution, that satisfies the design, supply and installation of a disconnected microgrid for a small rural town.

If there are successful proponent(s), the innovative integrated solutions must be deliverable by June 2023.

The solution must comply with relevant criteria in relation to the quality of supply in Technical Rules Section 2.

Proposed location

The services are required initially at one town with potential to provide similar services to other towns in the Midwest, Wheatbelt and Great Southern.  The general area that is being considered for a disconnected microgrid to supply a town is the shown in Figure 1.

The scope

Western Power is seeking registrations of interest from suitably qualified and experienced organisations, for the provision of a DMG. Western Power (in line with recent Government initiatives) will be targeting local businesses that can demonstrate their capability and capacity to meet the requirements of the scope. Evaluation criteria may be aimed at local business to promote growth in this emerging industry.

Western Power is seeking design, supply and installation of a DMG that will be able to meet the following criteria:

  • Supply a town with load characteristics similar to that provided in Appendix A;
  • Significant portion of generation via renewable sources (90% or more);
  • Long term operation that is reliable and maintainable understanding that main components will require replacement over time;
  • Suitable to ensure motor starting for electric motors in the order of 45 kW with star delta soft starter with typical starting current of 450% of full load current lasting for 10 seconds; and
  • Fault current capability and duration to ensure protection operation.

Western Power notes that due to the unknown OPEX solutions available in the market, any potential solution may be considered. Ongoing maintenance of the outstanding poles and wires can be included in potential OPEX solution, however is not mandatory.

Registration requirements

Suppliers are required to respond to the following for its Registration of Interest submission:

  • Demonstrate track record and capability in delivering services for disconnected microgrids in relation to the high-level scope requirements stated above (capability statement) as well as elect the type of solution (CAPEX, OPEX or combination) that the supplier proposes.
  • If available, references from at least three customers whom you have offered similar services.
  • Safety, health & environment information to be requested as part of this exercise.

To be considered for the inclusion in the Request for Proposal, please your interest via the link below by no later than 4PM AWST, Friday 7th January 2022.


Please ensure the following details are included in your registration:

  • Please specify the advertised tender event number you are responding to:WS314946691 Disconnected Microgrid - Network Support Services
  • Commodity Code Number and Title: 81 – Engineering and Research and Technology Based Services

Western Power reserves the right to not proceed with any of the registration put forward as part of the process and provide the solutions internally by the network.

Please find answers to several questions in the FAQs below.

Register your interest

Should you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact,  Matthew Torquato – Western Power Sourcing Specialist, Commercial.


Western Power and EPWA will be hosting a webinar at 10.30am (AWST) on Wednesday, 17 November 2021 for all interested parties . The webinar will cover the scope requirements and the process moving forward. Participation in the webinar is optional and non-attendance will not negatively affect your organisations submission.  Please contact Matthew Torquato on [email protected]  to confirm your attendance and to submit any questions you may have prior to the webinar. The link to the webinar is below:

Next steps

Western Power will review and evaluate the registrations received against the scope requirements. If successful, the shortlisted registrants would then be progressed and invited to submit an Expression of Interest and/or a Request for Proposal. 

Appendix: locations of required services

Western Australian Midwest/Wheatbelt/Great Southern

The first disconnected microgrid is likely to located in the area shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Disconnected microgrid likely location

Typical small rural town load data

Load data for a typical small rural town with a small grain receival site is provided below. Note the year shown is indicative only and does not represent any specific year.  In the data a fictitious year of 2021 was used only to provide a calendar entry for the data to be graphed.

Figure 2: Annual dkWh

Figure 3: Typical January high load day

Figure 4: Typical winter high load day

Figure 5: Typical December (harvest receival) normal load day

The peak load is in the order of 200 kW for many small rural towns that are presently being considered for a Disconnected Microgrid. However, future Disconnected Microgrids are likely to be up to 600 kW peak.

The expected Daily average kWh is likely to be in the order of 350 kWh for the small Rural town. Usage during seasonal grain receival is in the order of 1000 kWh per day.

The first DMG’s are likely to be located in remoter parts of the Western Australian MidWest, Wheatbelt or Great Southern area.

A long-term solution is required. Hence the options for service include ownership by Western Power of the DMG or a long-term Network Control Service contract.

Depending on the solution chosen it is likely the responsibility will be shared between Western Power and the Provider for all property-related arrangements and site establishment requirements including any necessary permits and Local Government Authority (LGA) consultation, community consultation and environmental approvals, network connection costs including any applicable connections contribution, and commissioning of non-network energy solutions.

  • For the CAPEX solution Western Power will own and operate the facility with an initial maintenance being provided by the Provider.

  • For the OPEX solution the Provider will own, operate and maintain the proposed system(s).

Western Power MV network voltages are between 6.6kV-33kV inclusive. The LV network consist of 415V. The areas specified in the ROI contain 22kV and 33 kV MV networks.