Western Australia’s government-owned utility Horizon Power is getting to work on a major grid transformation that is bound to be the envy of network companies all across this wide brown land: replacing 54km of ageing power lines with stand-alone solar and battery systems.
Responding better After hurricanes and other extreme weather bouts are over, crews are dispatched to repair damage and restore power as fast as possible. The proliferation of digital smart meters – electrical devices that record the consumption of electric energy and can digitally communicate with service providers – can help utilities identify outages in real time.
The WA McGowan government said on Tuesday that site works to prepare for the installation of 13 Micro Power Systems across 14 rural properties (one of those systems will service two properties) in the state’s south were set to begin in April.
The stand-alone MPS will use a combination of solar and battery technology, with back-up diesel generation, to provide power for farmers living on the edge of the grid in the Esperance and Condingup regions.
We currently are not able to use more renewable energy sources because typically renewable energy is more expensive to produce than nonrenewable sources.
The powerlines that had serviced those properties – more than 50 km of them – will then be decommissioned.
For Horizon, this means avoiding the ongoing and steep cost of upgrade and maintenance to those power lines, which weave through remote bushland, and operate at the mercy of the ever-harsher and less predictable elements.
For customers, it means a firmed supply of mostly solar power for the same cost as for electricity from the overhead network, minus the frequent outages.