Western Power and Carnegie Wave Energy today announced a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed to trial the first microgrid project in the world that combines wave energy, solar (photovoltaic) energy, a desalination plant and energy storage and connects to a large electricity network.
Western Power’s CEO Paul Italiano said if the trial on Garden Island is successful the project could provide the blue-print for similar projects across Western Power’s network.
“Western Power sees significant potential for long-term economic benefits in increasing the amount of decentralised energy generation located near the edges of the grid,” he said.
“It is costly to build and maintain the network to deliver power over long distances to small communities located a long way from where power is generated.”
“The possibility of microgrids providing a lower cost alternative to replacing aging network infrastructure is very exciting.”
During the trial Western Power will assess the technical challenges of enabling a two way flow of power between a large integrated network and a microgrid that has a mix of renewable sources of generation, including wave energy.
Western Power will provide an engineer for six months and other expertise to Carnegie, to assist with both the interface to the grid and with compliance to the Technical Rules and Network Standards required for all generators connecting to the grid.
“While ensuring the microgrid meets Western Power’s existing Technical Rules and Network Standards we also want to understand how the rules may be improved to support the safe and effective introduction of increasing levels of decentralised renewable energy across our network,” he said.
“Through this close involvement Western Power will gain technical expertise in the operation of world leading microgrid technology and its integration with the grid,” he said.