Green Town FAQ's
What is Green Town?
The Green Town Project is a series of energy efficiency initiatives developed by Western Power in partnership with the Denmark and Walpole communities via the South Coast Power Working Group (SCPWG) to reduce energy consumption at peak times.
What are the main objectives?
The objective of the Green Town project in Denmark and Walpole is to empower community members to actively participate in reducing their electricity consumption between the peak demand time of 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm in winter.
By reducing electricity consumption at peak time, it will result in less stress on the network, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce consumer and community power costs.
Why was Green Town introduced in Denmark and Walpole?
As an edge of grid community Denmark and Walpole face greater reliability and power quality issues than metro areas. Aging infrastructure, coupled with increased peak demand is now putting unprecedented pressure on the network. As an energy solutions business for a sustainable future, Western Power is looking to develop alternative (non-pole and wires) solutions.
So it means Western Power doesn’t have to replace old infrastructure?
Energy efficiency initiatives put in place as part of the Green Town Project will not replace Western Power’s commitment to build and maintain the electricity network.
However, we believe that to continue to meet customer demand by relying solely on building more and more poles and wires is short sighted. We’re instead looking at other solutions to meet peak power that, if successful, could be deferring significant infrastructure for a number of years.
How do the community participate in Green Town?
The community is consulted via the South Coast Power Working Group (SCPWG). The SCPWG meet every 8 to 10 weeks, and is very influential in providing feedback on recommendations and evaluating the success of completed initiatives.
Example: Fuel Switching.
Through community consultation the SCPWG suggested the fuel switching initiative. This was a community recommendation and the community was active in its development and promotion.
Who are involved in the SCPWG?
The SCPWG consists of key representatives of the local community e.g. local government councillors, Greens MP, local businesses, Community Wind Farm group, not for profit environmental groups such as Green Skills, The Centre for Sustainable Living, Denmark Environment Centre, as well as the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, Great Southern Development Commission and the Water Corporation.
So Western Power leads the SCPWG?
No, Western Power initially brought the SCPWG together but is an equal member of the group and participates at that level. The group is run and led by the community.
Who pays for the initiatives?
Western Power initially funded the project initiatives and marketing with the community contributing time, effort, running initiatives, workshops and disseminating information.
What are the power challenges faced by an edge of grid community compared to those of a metro community?
Edge of grid communities are fed by long rural feeders from substations up to 200 km away, whereas metropolitan communities are fed from substations that are, at most, 50 km away. Long rural feeders are more susceptible to damage from weather, animals, cars etc. Also, the quality of the power is reduced the further it has to travel.
What are the benefits of Green Town?
Initiatives developed as part of the Green Town project will reduce energy costs for consumers in the community, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate pressure of the network and potentially defer the need for expensive infrastructure investment.
What has contributed to the success of Green Town?
Community involvement and ownership of the outcomes is at the heart of Green Town’s success. Without the local knowledge, influence and networks that were tapped by involving the community in each step from planning to implementation, the Green Town Project would not have been as successful.
Do you have plans to launch the Green Town project in other areas?
Western Power aims to make the Green Town Project and its energy solutions initiatives transferable to other ‘edge of grid’ communities in order to encourage consumers to reduce their level of energy use at times of peak demand.
What has Western Power learnt from the Green Town project?
We’ve learnt that having an effective partnership and good relationship with the community is vital to the success of such a project.
We’ve found that local resources and networks provide invaluable insights and information, and that there is no substitute for open and honest, face-to-face engagement with the community, which is an important part of being sustainable.