Plans to meet just under half of the energy needs of the Western Australia coastal town of Esperance with a mix of solar, wind and battery storage have made major progress this week, with the first set of blades successfully installed onto one of the project’s two wind turbines.
The “enormous milestone” was marked on the weekend by Contract Power Group, the Pacific Energy subsidiary that was last year tapped to build the hybrid renewables microgrid, including 4MW of solar, two 4.5MW wind turbines, a 5.5MW/1.9MWh lithium-ion battery system and gas generators.
In a LinkedIn post and accompanying video, Pacific Energy documented the seemingly around-the-clock progress on assembly of the first turbine, which – now complete – measures “an impressive” 187.5 meters to the tip of the blade.
As One Step and sister site RenewEconomy have reported, the hybrid renewables grid at Esperance, on the state’s south coast, is expected to generate up to 46% of the town’s renewable energy annually, slashing its electricity emissions by half and its costs by nearly as much.
Contract Power – which has been best known in the state for the design, procurement, installation and operation of remote diesel power stations, but which has been increasingly pivoting to hybrid renewables – will own and operate the Esperance generation facility, which is expected to be operational in early 2022.
For Juwi, the deal marks its fourth such project in Australia, including the solar and storage system at the Degrussa Gold and Copper Mine, and the wind/solar/battery/gas/diesel system at the Agnew gold mine – both in W.A.; and a solar and flow battery system at the University of Queensland research centre on Heron Island.
The electricity generated by the hyrbid system will be distributed by Horizon Power, the Western Australia government-owned regional distribution company that is proving to have a relatively progressive approach to power solutions for some of the more remote parts of its grid.
Horizon has noted that the battery system will be used to improve the power hub’s efficiency by responding to variabilities in power transmission, while also reducing the likelihood of power fluctuations. A microgrid control system by Juwi, meanwhile, will be used to smooth the integration of the hybrid system into the Horizon network.
Pacific Energy said on LinkedIn on the weekend that the microgrid would deliver a long-term hybrid generation solution including centralised solar, battery storage, wind and gas fired generation to provide the Esperance community with their energy requirements for the next 20 years.