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The WA town of Onslow has been successfully powered using its own 100 per cent renewable microgrid – powering the community for a total of 80 minutes.

The Australian-first trial was powered by 700kW of customer-generated solar and 600kW of utility solar, and supported by battery technology.

This successful trial comes after Western Australian Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, announced the Renewable Energy Project in Onslow in March 2019 to stimulate the uptake of solar panels and batteries.

“The operation of the Onslow microgrid powered by 100 per cent renewables signifies a landmark step towards building a cleaner, brighter, renewable energy future for our state,” Mr Johnson said. 

“This innovative project demonstrates how distributed energy resources can be safely integrated at the grid level, unlocking further benefits from Western Australia’s world-leading rooftop solar uptake.”

An intelligent Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) was integral to the success of the trial, using predictive analytics to maximise the amount of renewable energy in the microgrid while maintaining network stability for all customers.

It is the first time DERMS has been deployed in a remote microgrid in Australia, Horizon Power, and partner PXiSE Energy Solutions, will continue using DERMS testing ahead of commissioning the project later in 2021.

Australian energy software company SwitchDin provides secure gateway devices in the project.

With this hydrocarbon free functionality, the Onslow Power Project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by about 820 tonnes per year.

Horizon Power CEO, Ms Stephanie Unwin, said, “Renewable energy solutions are front of mind and we have very clear goals for our energy future. This technical functionality developed in Onslow continues to lead the industry to overcome the barriers to increased rooftop solar installation which has been shown to reduce energy costs for our regional customers.”

WA Mining and Pastoral Region MLC, Peter Foster, said the Onslow Power Project is a working example of the State Government’s commitment to regional development and renewable energy growth.

“The success of this trial paves the way for more affordable and reliable energy for households and businesses in Onslow, and is part of the State Government’s upgrade of the social and critical infrastructure in the town,” Mr Foster said. 

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