The Western Australian Government are developing Australia’s largest distributed energy resource microgrid, which aims to supply more than 50 per cent of electricity in Onslow, in the Pilbara region, using renewable energy.
Western Australian Energy Minister, Mike Nahan, said the new Onslow microgrid will include a mix of distributed solar energy generation and battery storage.
The project will include essential electricity network infrastructure, a new transmission line and substation, as well as a 5.25MW gas-fired modular power station, designed to efficiently contract in size as the renewable energy contribution expands to meet energy needs.
“This project connects traditional energy sources with solar power and battery storage to deliver more than half of Onslow’s electricity needs with renewables,” Dr Nahan said.
“This will be Australia’s largest distributed energy microgrid, creating a new era of energy competition and efficiency for households and businesses.
“The development of a renewable energy microgrid in Onslow is another great example of how the State Government, by partnering with industry, is leading the way in renewable energy.”
Western Australian State Development Minister, Bill Marmion, said innovative technological advances presented the opportunity to revisit the approach previously negotiated under the State Development Agreement for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone LNG project.
“The state government, Horizon Power and Chevron agree the redesign of the gas-fired modular power station is the best way to integrate with the latest renewable energy technology and ensure a more sustainable energy supply,” Mr Marmion said.
“As part of its obligations under the State Development Agreement, Chevron will provide a financial contribution for Horizon Power to construct the power infrastructure.”
Works on the power station are set to start in early 2017, with completion expected in early 2018.
The Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project has committed more than $250 million to social and critical infrastructure projects in Onslow including health, recreation and utilities. The state government has committed about $70 million to the project.
The Wheatstone Project is a joint venture between the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron, Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company, Woodside Petroleum Limited and Kyushu Electric Power Company, together with PE Wheatstone, part owned by TEPCO.