Plans to develop a solar and battery microgrid to power an industrial estate in Nambeelup, south of Perth, are beginning to gain momentum, with an application to Western Australia’s economic regulator for an electricity distribution and retail licence.
Gas network owner Enwave, which is heading up the consortium behind the renewable powered Peel Business Park, submitted the application this week to own and operate the microgrid and provide retail services to customers at the new precinct.
The application has also revealed some details of the renewable microgrid planned for the first stage of the business park, including 1.2MW of ground mounted solar and a 1MW/2MWh battery system.
The application notes that the microgrid would have an initial 10 customers in the first 12-18 months of operation (including street lights), but when fully developed this would grow to around 100 small to large commercial and industrial customers.
“Over time other parts of the Peel Business Park may be developed by neighbouring landowners, at which time a decision may be made to extend the …microgrid to service these developments,” the document says.
As reported in September, the 1,000-hectare Business Park – located around 10km north-east of Mandurah in the Shire of Murray – is being built by DevelopmentWA (previously known as Landcorp) as a hub for agri-food and agri-processing businesses, and other light transport and logistic industries.
According to the project website, Stage 1 lots released in October have received strong interest, with only three lots remaining available and DevelopmentWA now taking registrations of interest for stage 2.
The installation of a solar and battery microgrid, which has state government backing, was pursued as an “innovative solution” to the high cost of extending the mains grid to the estate, and a way to fast-track the overall project’s development.
The estate will still be grid-connected, however, and will use electricity from the Western Power network as back-up.
The government has also noted that the microgrid would have the potential to be increased in size, beyond LandCorp’s current landholding, via “interested neighbouring landowners.”
Projections have estimated that the solar and storage will deliver annual energy bill savings of around 30 per cent to businesses that take up at the estate, compared to bundled energy tariffs.
“This is a smart, sustainable solution for a broader project that will be built on innovation,” said lands minister Ben Wyatt in September.
“The McGowan Government’s vision for the Peel Business Park is a place where business, industry, training, research and development come together, invigorating the Peel region and creating jobs that cannot be achieved without providing a secure and affordable power supply.”