Western Australian Energy Minister Bill Johnston today announced a unique five-year community battery trial in Margaret River. The trial, run by state-owned Western Power in conjunction with Synergy, will track a 464 kWh Tesla battery to identify other locations where community energy storage could best assist customers, industry, and retailers.
The Tesla battery has been installed at the Margaret River Recreation Centre, a great boost to the energy quality and security of the local area, as well as a golden opportunity for more residents to install solar.
By managing solar generation before it enters the network, the energy storage system is able to better distribute, and thus better absorb, more solar capacity from local residents and businesses. Johnston made particular mention of commercial properties with large solar outputs, saying that this community battery provides them with an “opportunity to further reduce their bills.”
Johnston said that programs like this have become viable due to the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap (DER Roadmap). The DER Roadmap, released in April, is an effort to clear a path toward more successful integration of resources like energy storage.
“Community batteries are proving to be a versatile solution to network challenges,” said Johnston, “and I’d like to congratulate the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River for their innovative approach by embracing renewable technology.”
Margaret River is famous for two things, wine and surfing, both of which are sun-dependent, now the Shire of Augusta is looking to utilise the sun once more through further solar uptake. The Shire’s Local Energy Action Plan (LEAP) is due for an update, and with resources like energy storage now firmly set, the community is primed to ride the wave toward even more sustainable goals.
The community battery rollout
The Margaret River installation is by no means the first of the WA community battery rollout, indeed, Margaret River is the 14th community battery installed on Western Power’s network. This most recent installation follows closely on the heels of an installation at Port Kennedy, and following other installations at 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.
The first of the community battery installations, in the Mandurah suburb of Meadow Springs back in 2018, has seen 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.
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