Power project boost
Swiss sustainable investor SUSI has committed $12.5 million to fund WA’s first “virtual power plant”, soon to roll out in Dunsborough and spread throughout the South West.
The Dunsborough Community Energy Project is the first 100 per cent privately funded plant of its kind in Australia and will have up to 1000 solar and battery systems installed in participants’ homes, then leased from the newly formed, not-for-profit group for a flat fee.
Perth-based Redback Energy has also signed on, providing the inverters, services and software to co-ordinate the plant, and donating $250 from every installation into the DCEP group’s community fund.
The project will start as soon as 100 participants sign up and is expected to pump out 6.5MW at peak times, equating to about 9.5 gigawatt hours a year.
It is projected to displace about 7kt of carbon emissions a year and ease pressure on the strained grid.
DCEP’s Emma Morgan said the model made sustainable energy con- sumption accessible, providing up to 90 per cent of households’ needs while removing the financial burden of equipment repairs and upgrades.
The group also hopes it will lead to a deal with Synergy and Western Power, supporting the grid at peak time, generating income to be put back into the community.
“By having a virtual power plant in the South West, or many virtual power plants, we’re actually taking a significant load off the grid,” Ms Morgan said.
SUSI has foreshadowed quadrupling its investment to $50 million to expand across the South West from Bunbury to Margaret River.
Ms Morgan is optimistic the scheme can be replicated across regional WA.
Information nights will be held on October 1 at The Movement Fitness and Wellbeing from 6.30-8.30pm and on October 2 at the Merchant and Marker from 6.30-8.30pm.
Emma Morgan and the Dunsborough community Energy Project will harness energy of the sun for WA's first virtual power plant.