Onslow’s solar grid project preparations in next stage
Plans to establish Australia’s largest energy microgrid in Onslow have progressed to their next stage.
The State Government has this month rubberstamped approvals for the next phase of the distributed energy resources project in Onslow.
Initial stages of the project include a near-complete new gasfired power station and preparations for development of a large solar farm and battery storage system. Horizon Power managing director Frank Tudor said completion of the solar farm and battery storage facility, 18km from town, was expected in the first half of 2019.
“This is demonstrating our capacity to deliver the safe and reliable integration of renewable energy into our existing systems throughout regional and remote Western Australia,” he said.
“Together with these central energy assets, we’re also developing technology and infrastructure platforms to ultimately enable our customers to easily and efficiently connect, generate, store and sell their own electricity. Our DER microgrids will deliver more affordable and sustainable electricity to communities, giving customers more choice over how they receive their energy and greater ability to lower their power bills.”
Under its State development agreement, the Chevron-operated Wheatstone project has financially contributed for Horizon Power to build the power infrastructure for both project stages, and the solar farm contract has been awarded to Complete Power Systems National.
A utility-scale battery will be built and installed by Contract Power Australia within Horizon Power’s new zone substation about 3km from the town centre to supply power to the Onslow community.
The microgrid is one of several renewable energy projects taking place in the Pilbara, with two similar ground-mounted solar systems in Marble Bar and Nullagine providing power by using 2000 solar modules and a single axis solar tracking system to follow the path of the sun throughout the day — supplying both towns with close to 60 per cent of their power through solar energy.