The Western Australian government has announced that two local firms will share in $37 million for the rollout of 180 standalone power systems.
The rollout will begin in 2023 and is a part of the state government’s target to deploy 1,000 standalone power systems (SPS) by 2025. The project replaces 762km of overhead powerline as Australia’s largest single rollout of SPS.
A standalone power system is an electricity generating unit not connected to the electricity grid, which includes solar panels, battery storage, inverters, and a backup diesel generator. The systems are sufficient to support a single or a handful of households or small businesses.
Energy Minister Bill Johnston said that the rollout would also help support the state economy.
“These new contracts will create 90 jobs, including more than 15 apprentice positions, for Western Australians and support local businesses through the manufacture, installation and commissioning of the units,” Mr Johnston said.
“Western Power’s traditional network of poles, wires and substations spread is now transitioning to standalone power system technology as a modern generation mix that better meets the needs of customers.
Hybrid Systems Australia and Boundary Power are the two companies that have been contracted for the rollout.
Boundary Power is a joint venture between state-owned energy company Horizon Power and Australian electrical manufacturing company Ampcontrol. The joint venture was launched in February 2021 following the rollout of 17 SPS in 2019 between the two companies.
Hybrid Systems was founded in 2015 and was acquired by distributed energy specialist Pacific Energy. Pacific Energy projects are predominantly based in Western Australia, where it generates 513MW, but the company has also installed 33MW of generation across the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Victoria.
At the end of last year, Hybrid Systems parent company Pacific Energy committed to constructing the company’s second SPS manufacturing plant at the Perth Airport Industrial Precinct. It was touted as the world’s largest SPS manufacturing facility.
In June, state-owned grid operator Western Power announced that 100 SPS had been deployed in the area around the South-West Interconnected System, the state’s main grid. According to a customer research report undertaken by the company, customers using SPS gave an 8.2 out of 10 satisfaction rating. This is compared to the 6.7 rating they gave prior to the installation of SPS.
The state’s long-term plan is to install 4,000 additional SPS across four contractors in the next 10 years. This rollout is occurring alongside state-owned energy company Synergy’s estimated $3.8 billion green infrastructure construction project until 2030. This includes wind, solar, and battery storage as well as feasibility studies into pumped hydro and hydrogen projects.
The state government has also committed to shutting down all state-owned coal power stations by 2030, meaning it needs to replace its 350MW Collie Power Station and 1094MW Muja Power Station.
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