Western Power has awarded the $6.8 million contract to construct a 100 per cent renewable energy-powered microgrid project for Kalbarri, Western Australia.

A joint venture by Energy Made Clean (EMC) and Lendlease will construct the the five megawatt (MW) microgrid which will comprise of wind and solar power, as well as a large-scale battery.

Western Power has engineered and designed the innovative solution which will be one of the most sophisticated microgrids in Australia, and meet the expectations of the community and operational requirements of Western Power.

Once built, the five megawatt (MW) microgrid will improve reliability for businesses, local residents and holiday-makers, removing the vast majority of unplanned outages affecting the Mid West town and tourist hot spot.

Minister for Energy, Ben Wyatt, said this is a great outcome for the Western Australian economy and the Kalbarri community.

“It is a game changer for regional communities who rely on power from a long feeder line, which is subject to environmental factors that can cause outages. The improved reliability for the region will boost the local tourism and retail operations, as well as enhance the lifestyle of residents.

“This partnership between Western Power and the EMC/Lendlease JV also supports the Kalbarri community’s desire to be renewable-powered, with this project being one of Australia’s biggest 100 per cent renewable microgrids.”

The local network is to be enhanced to enable the town to draw directly from renewable sources during an unplanned outage, including a local wind farm and residential solar PVs as well as future renewable generation projects.

A key part of the microgrid design will be a utility-scale 4.5 megawatt hour (MWh) battery with a minimum of 2MWh that is accessible at any time for reliability back-up services. This will supply power to the town when renewable generation sources are not available.

Western Power’s consultation with the community informed the specification of the microgrid and particularly the focus on renewables, and the community’s support has been invaluable.

Kalbarri will remain connected to the South West Interconnected System via the feeder line from Geraldton, and this solution will remove the majority of the frustration and uncertainty that the community currently experiences due to environmental impacts.

The microgrid continues Western Power’s development of innovative energy solutions and other technology projects, including the stand-alone power system in the Great Southern and the large-scale community battery system in Perenjori.   

Construction is expected to start in November 2018 with the microgrid to be in full operation by mid-2019.

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