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Improving power to Kalbarri by tapping into local sources

Kalbarri’s laid-back lifestyle to be powered by 21st century solution

Tourists flock to Kalbarri to enjoy the natural environment but the remoteness of the coastal town provides a challenge to maintain a reliable power supply.

The Mid West town currently receives power via a 140km long rural feeder line from Geraldton which is exposed to the elements.

Interference on the line can cause extended outages.

This has a knock-on effect to local businesses – it’s hard to keep tourists happy when they can’t dine out, use the air conditioner (it gets hot up there!) or even take money out of the ATMs.

But this is set to change.

Kalbarri's exciting electricity solution

Kalbarri will be powered by its own microgrid - a small-scale power grid which will also be connected to the main electricity network.

The microgrid will be designed and managed by Western Power and we have partnered with Lendlease to deliver the technical components.

Image: the microgrid leaving Perth and being transported to Kalbarri.

  • Powering up tourism in Kalbarri

    For the 1,500 Kalbarri locals, and the 100,000 plus visitors that travel to Kalbarri every year, this power situation has been a long-standing reality.

    Read on to find out more...

  • Microgrids: an electricity solution

    As the grid becomes more modular, expect to hear more about microgrids. Janica Lukas heads up the team making microgrids part of WA’s energy mix.

    Read on to find out more...

Project statistics
At 5MW, it will be one of Australia’s largest microgrids to run in complete renewable mode, which means it can draw energy solely from the connected wind farm and feed-in from residential rooftop solar panels.
3 MW
Peaks of energy demand in Kalbarri
1.6 MW
will be supplied by the wind farm
1 MW
will be supplied by rooftop solar
3.5 MW
will be supplied by the back up battery

The Kalbarri microgrid features

The microgrid features a 4.5MWh battery which will be able to supply 5MW of peak capacity with at least 2MWh of energy storage.

That's a lot of MW!

Additional supply will be provided through renewable energy from residential rooftop solar and a local wind farm. 

The design allows for future renewable generation sources to be integrated as they become available.

What did the Kalbarri locals say?

“The medical centre has their own generator… but again the generator doesn’t cover everything. I would love to see a more reliable power supply for Kalbarri."
Christine Holt
Kalbarri Resident
“If my power is down, I can’t do anything because I highly rely on electricity to run all my different contracts which range from Department of Transport to Human Services... As far as businesses are concerned, once the EFTPOS machine is down, it opens another whole kettle of fish.”
Margi Peet
Kalbarri Community Resource Centre
“I think the impact will be fabulous and in fact it’s very, very important that Kalbarri regains its reputation as one of the premium holiday spots in tourism in Western Australia.”
Shane Love
Member for Moore
“Batteries will only last so long but I think it will cover a lot of the outages. Especially when it’s got support from wind and hopefully some sun also.”
Daryl Brown
Western Power
“People want the power on all the time. They want to turn the switch on and the power is on. Great stuff, great initiative, great way for the future.”
John Simpson
Western Power
“Businesses will just be happier, yeah people will be happier. I think it’s a good relationship that they’ve listened and are working hard to do something about it.”
Tracey Grosvenor
Kalbarri Visitor Centre

The microgrid transforming a popular tourist town in WA

The Kalbarri microgrid will transform power reliability to this WA tourist town.

At 5MW, it will be one of Australia's largest microgrids to run in complete renewable mode, meaning it can draw energy solely from the connected wind farm and feed-in from residential rooftop solar panels.

Watch the video to find out how...