The West Australian town of Kalbarri will be home to the nation’s largest microgrid. Costing $10 million to develop and install, the microgrid will integrate distributed solar, a 1.7MW wind farm and 2MWh battery system.
The town is currently supplied by a combination of a local windfarm, rooftop and commercial solar systems, and a “rural feeder line” that connects it to generation sources near Geraldton.
“This is a game-changer for regional communities who rely on power from a long feeder line, which is subject to environmental factors that can cause outages,” said WA Energy Minister Mike Nahan.
“In the event of an outage on the main feeder line, the microgrid will ensure the Kalbarri community will still have power until the fault is corrected.”
According to Clean Energy Council director of smart energy Darren Gladman, microgrids are more cost-effective, safe and secure than traditional poles and wires.
“The once-in-50-year storm in South Australia that demolished more than 20 huge electricity pylons demonstrates the vulnerability of traditional energy systems to extreme weather events,” he said.
“Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina several years ago, New York State is working on a series of microgrids like those in Kalbarri, which will increase the resilience of its electricity system.”
Construction of the microgrid is expected to begin in 2017.