Western Australia’s government-owned utility, Western Power, has installed a 13th community battery on the state’s grid – but in this case on the customer connection side as part of a unique five-year trial with the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.
The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River is a local government area in the south-west region of Western Australia, approximately 170 miles south of Perth. In Margaret River, solar panels are very popular; with more than 1,065 small-scale PV systems installed in postcode area 6285 (population around 8,000) as at the end of May.
One of these systems is located in the Margaret River Council Recreation Center, where the newly installed 464 kilowatt-hour Tesla battery will help manage solar electricity generation, smooth out demand problems in a wider electricity network and allow more local households and businesses to install solar panels.
“Community batteries are proving to be a versatile solution to network challenges and I’d like to congratulate the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River for their innovative approach by embracing renewable technology,” said WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston.
The Tesla battery, like others installed before it, will serve the broader grid by ‘smoothing’ demand issues, including low load, which can hit when customer solar generation is high but power demand is low.
For the local community, the battery will improve power quality by helping to absorb excess solar generation, and open up more capacity for residents and businesses to install rooftop PV.
Western Power will operate the battery and collect data to “discover the full reach of battery benefits to the community” and identify more locations on the state’s expansive network where batteries could assist industry, retailers and other commercial partners.
Augusta-Margaret River Shire Councillor Pauline McLeod said the Tesla Powerpack system will save the Shire $ 10,000 per year.
“Great news for the grid and great news for our community,” stated Cr. McLeod. “We will be helping to transform the energy landscape and creating downward pressure on household electricity bills across the state.”
Community batteries have popped up at a bunch of locations in WA over the last 18 months and there are now more than a dozen Western Power controlled community energy storage facilities operational.
Other installations include those at Meadow Springs (105kW / 420kWh), Ellenbrook (116kW / 464kWh), Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Last month another 464kWh Tesla system swung into action at Salamanca Reserve in the outer Perth suburb of Port Kennedy, and there are also Tesla installations up and running at Falcon, Busselton, Yokine, Ashby, Two Rocks, Gosnells, and Kwinana.
The pace of community energy storage rollout in Western Power's network has picked up in 2020. Western Power has previously commented the rollout has been made easier through the passing of the Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019 in April this year and the more recent release of the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap; which the utility says will help it support high levels of DER on the network while ensuring safe, secure and affordable electricity supply.
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