A $15 million renewable microgrid to be built in Western Australia’s beachside town of Kalbarri is set to be the largest of its kind in Australia and a model for future energy projects in the state.
Western Power will develop the microgrid that will be capable of supplying five megawatts at peak capacity. A 4.5MWh battery will also offer at least 3.5MWh energy storage.
Announcing the microgrid, which will run entirely from wind and solar renewable energy, WA energy minister Bill Johnston said the project was an important step to improving power reliability for the local community.
“Improving how energy is delivered in regional areas and delivering better power reliability for Western Australians is an important part of the government’s distributed energy resources roadmap,” Johnston said.
“It also paves the way in delivering greater renewable energy solutions across WA, particularly in regional areas, as we move forward in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.”
The state government hopes the project will support local tourism and retail operators in Kalbarri and will serve as an example of what renewable energy solutions may be available for other regional areas.
Kalbarri has previously experienced outages due to being located at the end of the long Geraldton feeder line.
MP Peter Foster said Kalbarri’s annual tourism visitors numbering as many as 100,000 would also enjoy the benefits of the microgrid, which is expected to experience less interruption from environmental factors than other energy solutions.
“The new microgrid is one of Australia’s most sophisticated, and will be used as a blueprint for other regional areas to support the provision of stable, secure and clean energy into the future,” Foster said.