Onslow’s so­lar grid pro­ject prepa­ra­tions in next stage

Pilbara News - - News - Robert Dougherty

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.

A so­lar ar­ray in Mar­ble Bar. Pic­ture: Hori­zon Power

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