As it seeks to harness the power of its ever-growing rooftop PV fleet, Western Australia (WA) has welcomed a new community battery that will benefit hundreds of local residents and businesses in Perth’s outer southern suburb of Port Kennedy. In addition to balancing demand and easing congestion on the distribution network, the new Tesla 464 kWh battery at Salamanca Reserve will allow more homes in the area to install solar panels.
WA has embraced solar with one in three households in the South West Integrated System (SWIS) now generating their own renewable power. The rate of uptake shows no signs of subsiding with around 2,000 households a month putting up PV on their rooftops. Port Kennedy is ranked in the top 20 suburbs in WA for solar uptake and has therefore been identified by grid operator Western Power as an ideal location for shared battery storage.
“The City of Rockingham has experienced an eight-fold increase in uptake of solar panels in the past 10 years and being one of the first locations to secure a community battery reinforces the City’s commitment to supporting green energy initiatives,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
The speed of the community battery storage rollout in the state has been made easier through the Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019 and the release of the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap in April this year, which has battery storage as an important component of WA’s energy future. Specifically, the DER Roadmap has recommended to immediately begin installing community batteries in 10 locations across the SWIS network that are most in need of power balancing.
The Port Kennedy community battery follows the launch of other PowerBank batteries in Meadow Springs, Falcon, Ellenbrook, Kalgoorlie and Busselton, which have so far been successful in delivering community-wide benefits and keeping downward pressure on household electricity bills. In Australia’s first community battery trial launched in 2018, customers have collectively saved around $11,000 on their power bills, or an average of $228 per customer, over the first year of operation of the 105 kW/420 kWh battery in the Mandurah suburb of Meadow Springs.
Under the PowerBank trial, which is run by Western Power in partnership with state-owned retailer Synergy, more community batteries are expected to be rolled out soon. “Western Power continues to identify other high-solar penetration areas to install more community batteries and I look forward to announcing these locations later this year,” Energy Minister Bill Johnston said. “The extra potential that community batteries unlock for customers is another reason why we are supporting further roll outs across the network and why we’re encouraging energy storage trials, like the PowerBank model.”
Following the launch of the Port Kennedy battery, Western Power said that there are now 13 community batteries installed on its network. In addition to the shared battery storage rollout, the grid operator is proceeding with its other projects as part of its ongoing transformation: the Kalbarri microgrid that will integrate WA’s largest battery, the installation of stand-alone power systems for regional customers and the rollout of advance metering infrastructure.