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Kalbarri microgrid: Greater than the sum of its parts

Guy Chalkley

By Guy Chalkley
Chief Executive Officer 

 

Today I had the great pleasure of sharing the details of a $10 million project to build one of Australia’s largest renewable energy microgrids, and an egg and bacon roll, with a group of people we have worked together with for some time now.

Those people are our customers, businesses and staff in Kalbarri who have been involved in every step of the process to help us use evolving technology to tailor a solution that fits their community needs. 

While we have invested heavily to meet regulated benchmarks for reliability it was clear that those benchmarks were not translating into an experience that local customers, and visitors to the popular holiday hotspot, would describe as acceptable.

Technically speaking we are building a microgrid that uses renewable energy from residential and commercial solar and wind farms along with battery storage to supply 5MW of peak capacity with at least 2MWh of energy storage in the event that network power is interrupted.

What we have really done is build an innovative solution that adds another level of certainty for a regional community so dependent on tourism that their peak demand almost doubles during tourism season.

The beauty of the preferred design is that it will not just supply reliability, it will have flexibility to grow along with the population of Kalbarri so local business projects can bounce off the back of it.

We will begin accepting expressions of interest for proposals to help build the microgrid and aim to have the contracts and project underway by 2017.

There will soon be a certain irony now for holiday makers in Kalbarri in that while most come here to escape the frantic technology driven world, their power needs will be supplied by a 21st century microgrid solution.

View the Minister for Energy's media statement on the project launch

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