Onslow plans mi­cro­grids for power needs

Pilbara News - - News - Peter Milne

WA has the op­por­tu­nity to develop ex­per­tise es­sen­tial for en­ergy mar­kets from Onslow to New York, ac­cord­ing to the head of the State’s re­gional power pro­ducer.

Hori­zon Power manag­ing di­rec­tor Frank Tu­dor said South Korea had fo­cused on four as­pects of the en­ergy revo­lu­tion to cre­ate half a mil­lion jobs by 2030 — re­new­able en­ergy from the sun and the wind, stor­age, elec­tric ve­hi­cles and mi­cro­grids.

Mi­cro­grids, the least pub­li­cised of these four tech­nolo­gies, are net­works that con­nect and co-or­di­nate power sources and loads dis­trib­uted over a small area. They are dif­fer­ent to the dom­i­nant elec­tric­ity sys­tem of the 20th cen­tury, in which a few big power plants sent power to a wide area.

Mr Tu­dor told the Amer­i­can Cham­ber of Com­merce in Perth that de­spite their dis­tinct dif­fer­ences, New York City and the Pil­bara town of Onslow were plan­ning mi­cro­grids to meet their power needs.

Both places had to cost­ef­fec­tively re­fresh in­fra­struc­ture to make it re­silient and pro­vide choice to con­sumers, he said.

In Onslow, the power sys­tem is be­ing trans­formed by Hori­zon Power to source more than half the town’s en­ergy from re­new­ables. The aim is to in­te­grate a gas-fired power sta­tion un­der con­struc­tion with a so­lar farm and rooftop so­lar and bat­ter­ies at res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial premises. Hori­zon Power man­ages more than 40 mi­cro­grids across the State.

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