Perenjori is celebrating two years of having their community power supply supported by Western Power’s ‘outage busting’ community microgrid.
The northern Wheatbelt community has been part of a world-first trial to address reliability issues, caused by volatile environmental factors impacting the long feeder line to the town, by integrating a utility-grade battery directly into the local distribution network.
Since the 1 MW/h network battery was connected and energised in 2018, it has been used more than 300 times to support power reliability and quality during the last 24 months.
Western Power’s Principal Engineer, Nathan Kirby, said the project was an exciting challenge and the hard work and community support has resulted in significant outcomes with the town avoiding more than 26 hours of outages.
“What’s been especially rewarding is that we’ve been able to give the community greater certainty and control over their lifestyles and power use with the microgrid’s battery storage,” Mr Kirby said.
“The town’s families and business owners told us that in the past there was always a niggle in the back of their minds that they wouldn’t be able to finish what they started if a sudden unplanned outage occurred and when they would be able to restart work,” he said.
“Now, instead of the lights going out, a fault on the feeder triggers the system to kick in, and customers receive a text message letting them know they have switched over to the microgrid which will supply the town for around four hours. This gives mum or dad a chance to save work on the computer, the family can finish cooking meals, and business owners can keep operating.”
The Perenjori microgrid will remain in place as a permanent fixture of the local network, and Western Power will continue to explore the opportunities that utility-scale battery integration can offer regional communities.
The data and knowledge developed during the two-year trial will also be applied to the network to see if other regional towns can benefit from a microgrid solution.