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Perenjori network battery

Perenjori: From blackout town to energy innovation crown

Blackouts have been all too common in the small Western Australian town of Perenjori.

The Mid West town sits at the end of a long stretch of powerlines which are exposed to a range of environmental factors.

A problem anywhere along this long line could cut power to the town.

Fast forward to 2017 and Perenjori will be the first town to trial a backup battery supply on the Western Power network, thanks to a 1MWh network battery that has been installed on the outskirts of town.

The system is comprised of lithium-ion batteries with an inverter. It kicks into gear instantaneously if the town loses supply from the main electricity network.

The 1MWh network battery will act as a backup power supply for the town and will eliminate up to 80% of outages, based on the town’s power outage history.

Town residents and businesses may still experience power outages, however these will be after the network battery is exhausted and a series of notifications will enable them to plan for the outage.

We’re currently in the process of commissioning the system, and we expect to ‘flick the switch’ on the network battery in early 2018 to provide Perenjori residents with a reliable backup power supply.

Insights gained from this trial will help us determine how we can deploy network batteries effectively to other communities.

Perenjori customers can opt-in to receive SMS notifications when:

  • A fault on the line has triggered the network battery to start working
  • The network battery is running low and you’re likely to experience a power outage
  • The fault has been fixed and you’re receiving power from the main line again

What is a network battery?

A network battery is a community-scale battery energy storage system (BESS), which can provide an additional power supply to households and residents.

Batteries convert electrical energy into chemical energy, which is converted back to electricity when it’s needed. 

Until very recently there has been no cost-effective way to store excess power for use at a later date.

With better technology and growing interest from the public, the level of investment in energy storage is helping bring the cost of batteries down.

Network batteries can be used as a backup power supply to improve reliability when there is a fault on the main electricity network, or as part of an independent microgrid when connected with other generation sources such as solar panels and diesel generators.

It may have been out of reach a decade ago, but the technology to provide network batteries that power entire communities is now a reality.