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Community batteries delivering big benefits

Batteries: an energy storage solutions

With the network undergoing an exciting transformation, we are leveraging new technology to improve how energy is generated, used and stored. One way we are doing this, is with community batteries.

As part of our community battery program, these batteries are being rolled out across Perth metro and regional WA to deliver immediate benefits to the local community and the grid.

So what is a community battery?

Watch the video to find out…

Batteries are transforming the grid

Batteries play a big part in transforming our grid. There are currently two types of batteries being used as part our network:

  • large network batteries that form part of a microgrid, like the one in Perenjori, and
  • community batteries, including those used in the PowerBank trials. These batteries allow for excess energy to be stored and used at a later time when it is needed.

So not only do batteries benefit local customers by improving power reliability, but they also benefit the grid by smoothing the load.

Watch this video to find out more…

How does a community battery work?

Our community battery program benefits the entire community, whether they have solar panels or not.

This is because they are placed in areas where the network needs upgrading or adjusting to maintain power reliability and quality. For example, there might be a pressure point on a transformer for a two-way flow of power. So for an older part of the network, the two-way flow of power is more than the transformer was originally built to handle.

Community batteries solve this problem. They soak up any excess power and smooth the flow, improving power reliability and quality to local customers.

So they are a win-win for customers and the grid. One of the benefits of using a battery instead of traditional transformers is that presents the opportunity for residents to trial battery storage technology, such as the PowerBank product that we are delivering in partnership with Synergy. The PowerBank allows a group of properties living in a community to own a share of the battery and store their excess solar energy, then draw the energy back out for use later on.

Storing your excess solar energy

With all the sunshine in our state, more homes are getting rooftop solar panels. Almost 1 in 3 homes in WA now have rooftop solar.

So what if you could put away your solar energy until it’s needed, just like you deposit money in a bank? Well you can and it comes in the form of a shared community battery like a PowerBank.

A PowerBank is a large scale battery which is placed within a neighbourhood and provides residents with a virtual storage option. Any excess energy generated from their rooftop solar panels feeds into this battery. During peak periods, households can draw on this energy as needed, with any surplus going back into the network.

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What makes it so appealing?

Some of the benefits of community batteries include:

  • they can help balance electricity supply and smooth out the power distribution
  • they can be used as a backup power supply, which will assist when there is a fault on the main electricity network, power disruptions due to severe weather, or as part of an independent microgrid
  • they can reduce the high cost of upgrading existing power infrastructure, in areas that have increasing loads during peak demand hours
  • they can help reduce your electricity bill and generate revenue at the same time.

We are currently trialling shared community batteries in Ellenbrook, Falcon and Meadow Springs, near Mandurah. The trials of these PowerBanks are managed in partnership with Synergy.

Where are we going next?

With more community batteries being rolled out across Perth metro and regional WA, where the next community battery be located?

Well, that’s a good question.

The location of a community battery is carefully considered and based on a number of factors. One of the key factors is where there is a significant network need for a battery and making sure it will provide optimal benefit for local customers as well as the grid.

For example, in suburbs with a lot of rooftop solar, the battery would help soak up the excess solar power. But it’s not always the obvious locations that are in most need of a battery as Revana Boodhraj, our Senior Business Development Analyst, explains.

Read on to find out how we determine the best battery location...

Community batteries - the PowerBank trials

In conjunction with Synergy, the community battery PowerBank projects across Perth will provide an alternative energy storage option for trial participants.

These PowerBanks use Tesla battery technology. Most batteries are made of lithium ion, with entrepreneurs like Elon Musk (Tesla's founder) leading the way in new lithium ion battery technology and the future of electric vehicles.

Watch the video to find out about our latest community battery PowerBank trial in Ellenbrook.

Read more about our PowerBank projects here....