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Western Power to install first utility-scale battery in Mid West

Western Power will install its first utility-scale battery early next year as part of a two-year pilot project in Western Australia’s Mid West.

Western Power’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Guy Chalkley said a one megawatt hour battery would be installed to study ways to improve the reliability of electricity supply for the town of Perenjori, 380 kilometres north east of Perth, and the network more broadly.

“Power reliability to rural communities is often affected by the unavoidable consequences of supplying electricity over very long powerlines,” Mr Chalkley said.

“Due to its location at the edge of the network, the town of Perenjori has experienced electricity outages that typically range between 30 minutes and two hours.

“Our innovative pilot project seeks to eliminate the majority of short power interruptions and reduce the impact of longer outages as the battery storage system will be capable of storing up to four hours of electricity.”

Mr Chalkley said the system would be delivered in partnership with Balance Utility and Decmil, and consist of a battery and an inverter which would continue to be connected to Western Power’s network.

He said the Perenjori pilot was one of a number of projects that Western Power had launched to understand how alternative technology could better supply electricity or avoid costly network upgrades.

In his ‘What’s on WA’s energy agenda?’ presentation to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) forum in Perth today, Mr Chalkley said the new projects demonstrated the integral role that the network will play in providing choice for electricity customers.

Western Power’s new technology projects include:

  • Stand-alone power systems pilot near Ravensthorpe
  • Large-scale microgrid feasibility study for Kalbarri
  • Wave-powered microgrid trial on Garden Island
  • Non-network demand trial in the City of Mandurah.

“Self-generation, renewable energy and energy efficient products are rapidly altering the electricity usage landscape,” Mr Chalkley said. 

“Western Power is looking for ways to ensure we’re ready to accommodate the changing needs of our customers by exploring alternative technologies. This will help us provide more cost effective ways to deliver electricity to our customers.”

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