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Bremer Bay says bye-bye to long outages and hello to a microgrid

The frustration of long power outages for one of WA’s iconic holiday towns, will be a ghost from Christmas past, following a collaboration by Western Power and Synergy.

The utilities have successfully completed work on a microgrid configuration for Bremer Bay.  The network and power station’s upgrade allows for automatic start-up of the microgrid during peak power periods and will prevent long outages on their long feeder line.

Western Power Head of Network Planning Matt Cheney said this project will significantly improve customer experience in the Great Southern town and proved both utilities’ appetite for smart solutions.

“Following an outage, before we could start and link the generator to the network, someone had to drive for two hours, then begin a complex process to switch power supplies,” Mr Cheney said.

“With Synergy’s investment in upgrading the Bremer Bay power station’s control system, we’ve applied an intelligent network solution that means we can automatically fire up the power station, reducing most outages to around a minute.”

Synergy’s Sustainables and Business Services Manager Stephen Rogers said the collaboration with Western Power should be celebrated, with both utilities delivering the project for the benefit of customers.

“This will improve power reliability, limit outage periods for local Bremer Bay residents and therefore not incur lengthy delays (typically hours) to manually start the power station and configure the local network,” Mr Rogers said.

“This project shows Synergy’s appetite to implement smart solutions via a new control system, which are future proof and will improve reliability to our customers in Bremer Bay.”

The Bremer Bay microgrid project supplements the existing network by improving power reliability and security throughout the year. This energy innovation also better equips the town to cope with exceptional holiday maker power demands, as well during storm and bushfire seasons. 

WA Energy Minister Mr Ben Wyatt said he is pleased with the outcome of the Bremer Bay project and was very supportive of initiatives increasing reliability to regional areas with affordable technology.

Western Power is also investing more than $5 million in network upgrades and maintenance around Bremer Bay, which will strengthen the grid against seasonal and environmental reliability problems. 

The work began in November 2017 and will see the replacement of approximately 400 poles, along with upgrades to pole top devices.

“The Western Power network is still the most efficient and reliable source of power for customers and this innovative microgrid solution is only possible because on the continuous investment in our grid,” Mr Cheney added.