With the Western Australian Government committed to rolling out more standalone power systems (SPS) across the state, Pacific Energy subsidiary Hybrid Systems Australia has confirmed it will build a 16,000 square metre production facility in Perth dedicated to the design and construction of the off-grid and edge-of-grid systems.
A subsidiary of QIC-owned Pacific Energy, Hybrid Systems has taken an initial 10-year lease at the Perth Airport industrial precinct where the purpose-built facility will be located.
Hybrid Systems said the new facility will allow it to increase production capacity and to service growing demand for SPS.
The driving force behind the increasing demand is state-owned power utility Western Power which provides SPS, combining solar PV, battery storage, an inverter and a back-up generator, to customers in regional and remote locations to improve power reliability and quality as well as provide cost efficiencies.
In February the Western Australian (WA) Government announced $218 million had been set aside to manufacture and install more than 1,000 SPS in regional WA over the next five years.
Pacific Energy chief executive officer Jamie Cullen said modelling conducted by Western Power showed about 6,000 viable properties in Western Australia (WA) where SPS units could be installed in coming years.
“This investment is a recognition that increasing energy decentralisation and decarbonisation pressures are going to drive demand for clean energy sources such as SPS and the bigger grid-connected battery energy storage systems (BESS),” he said.
“This is the biggest SPS manufacturing facility in the world as far as we are aware.”
Cullen said the technology is also ideally suited to Queensland with Hybrid Systems estimating future demand in the state of about 2,000 SPS.
“As another big state, Queensland has the same issues as WA in terms of getting reliable power to remote customers at the edge of long power grids and the same consumer demand for renewable solutions,” he said.
The unveiling of the new production facility is timely with the WA Government announcing on Thursday it will install 35 more SPS as residents in the state’s Mid-West continue to grapple with the damage wrought by Cyclone Seroja.
Cyclone Seroja tore a path of destruction through the Mid-West more than eight weeks ago, with Western Power’s transmission network among the infrastructure damaged.
“The extra 35 Standalone Power Systems will be located in Latham, Yuna and Nangetty and will be a welcome solution for regional customers who are often impacted by weather events,” Energy Minister Bill Johnston said.
Since 2016, Western Power has installed 58 SPS in WA and Johnstone said the technology had demonstrated its dependability during the recent cyclone.
“A great example of the technology’s resilience is that six SPS customers in the Mullewa region retained power during the destructive cyclone on April 11,” he said.
Western Power CEO Ed Kalajzic said the power utility would continue to roll out SPS in a bid to improve power reliability in regional and remote areas.
“Like many electricity networks around the world, Western Power is looking at ways we can improve power reliability and quality and improve operational and cost efficiencies for the community,” he said.
“We’re increasingly using renewables and SPS provides a viable alternative to traditional poles and wires while realising commercial, social, and environmental benefits.
“Our modelling shows that through installing thousands of SPS over the coming decades we could avoid millions of dollars in traditional network build, deliver customer benefits and facilitate sustainable energy.”
Renewable energy developer and service provider BayWA r.e. Solar Systems will deliver 10 of the new units while Hybrid Systems will deliver 25.
Hybrid Systems has also been awarded a further allocation of 60 units with Western Power confirming that in addition to the post-cyclone approved SPS, another 98 units will be installed across regional WA over the next 12 to 18 months.
Hybrid Systems said work on its new manufacturing facility has already commenced and is due to be completed this year.
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