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White Gum Valley energy sharing trial

Sharing energy with your neighbours will soon be as easy as lending a cup of sugar or borrowing the lawn mower on the weekend. 

Western Power and Curtin University are trialling a shared energy storage system that will make sharing power between neighbours possible through a solar-powered microgrid and battery storage system.

The system is being built into a new residential complex in White Gum Valley, near Fremantle.

The residents of the 80 dwellings, including units and townhouses, will be part of a microgrid that will make use of energy captured through their solar panels and topped up by the main electricity network.

The system will allow peer to peer sharing of electricity between residents and is expected to provide about 70 per cent of the energy needs of the complex.

There will also be the option to allow any excess electricity to be sold back to retailers via the Western Power network.

Backed by Federal Government funding, the project is breaking new ground by incorporating the innovative power system as part of the overall property development.

It could revolutionise future strata developments, as project developers increasingly include solar panels in their designs.

The setup includes a 300kWh battery storage system and 150kW of solar panels.

It will allow residents to balance their energy use between their local grid and the main electricity network, and is an important test for the Western Power network in sharing energy between households.

The trial is in its early stages – two of the strata developments have been constructed and are ready for sale.

In addition to network and engineering expertise, we have provided funding for a PhD student to research the project’s impacts and benefits for the electricity network, so we can plan for a future where shared energy systems can be optimised for the whole community.

There are a number of peer to peer energy trials happening around the world, including the United States, New Zealand and Australia

What is peer to peer energy sharing?

The idea behind peer to peer energy sharing is simple:

  1. Use your solar panels to generate electricity
  2. Store it in your home battery
  3. Sell or share any excess energy that you don’t need.

It all starts with the electricity network.

Electricity still requires conductors (the wires) to transfer it long distances.

The Western Power network is already there to interconnect 1.1 million customers and has the potential to be the energy trading platform that makes the concept a reality for Western Australians.

To tap into the potential of peer to peer energy sharing, homes and businesses will require advanced meters to track energy use then link it to blockchain technology to help buy, sell and trade excess energy.

Blockchain technology creates an online, centralised ledger that autonomously and securely facilitates and records transactions. It’s what could help you securely and confidently buy energy from a complete stranger. 

So it's really your decision on what to do with your excess energy…

Sell it to a neighbour who needs a little more energy for that pool pump? Why not?

Donate it a local charity? That’s your call.

Keep it all to yourself? Sure.

With peer to peer energy sharing, you can take control of how you use your energy.

Home battery systems are becoming more affordable for households, and when partnered with solar panels gives you more control of how you generate and use your energy. Batteries convert electrical energy into chemical energy, which is converted back to electricity when it’s needed.

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