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Report gives green light to Kalbarri microgrid solution

A solution to boost Kalbarri’s power reliability has taken a significant step forward with a feasibility study giving Western Power’s plan for a microgrid the tick of approval.

The $300,000 study, which was funded by Western Power, has confirmed the technical feasibility of a large renewable-energy connected battery to improve the reliability of the 140 kilometre network between Geraldton and Kalbarri.

Western Power Executive Manager of Asset Management Seán Mc Goldrick said the report was an essential and exhaustive process involving 12,500 computer simulations to test the viability and technical requirements of the project.

“The findings mean we can go forward with the confidence and proof that there are bigger picture reliability solutions that the network can offer to edge-of-grid customers in areas like Kalbarri,” Mr Mc Goldrick said

“Reliability of power supply is important to everyone but for towns like Kalbarri, that are so reliant on tourism, frequent or extended outages can have a significant impact during holiday season when power use soars.”

Mr Mc Goldrick said the microgrid will have a utility-scale battery as the centrepiece that is charged by a combination of network, wind and solar that can support the needs of the community during an outage on the network between Geraldton and Kalbarri.

It will also have the benefit of strengthening the resilience of the network by sending surplus energy to Geraldton.

Conceptual model for a battery-centric microgrid in Kalbarri 

Western Power will now enter the procurement phase of the project to seek funding sources and will continue to work with the community, local government and businesses in the region to have their input.

This is one of several innovative projects that Western Power is undertaking to meet customer needs by embracing emerging and future technology.

These initiatives include the wave-powered microgrid trial on Garden Island, Ravensthorpe stand-alone power systems pilot, White Gum Valley residential project and the Perenjori Battery Energy Storage System.

You can download the feasibility study now

About Western Power:

Western Power is a State Government owned corporation that is committed to providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity to more than one million customers across a network area of 255,064 km2.