Horizon Power, the power utility operating in regional areas of Western Australia, has taken the golf club in the resort town of Exmouth in the state’s north west off the grid as part of its drive to cut costs and focus on renewable energy solutions.
Horizon is planning to roll out a series of stand-alone power systems (SPS) across its grid to reduce the cost of upkeep of its extended network, and to tap in to the cheaper costs of renewables and battery storage compared to the maintaining ageing poles and wires from the largely gas-fired grid.
The SPS – paid for by Horizon – for the Exmouth Golf Club includes 20kW of solar PV and 52kWh of battery storage. It will provide all of the club’s power requirements, and will completely remove its connection from the electricity network.
“The system generates and stores its own electricity through solar panels and battery energy storage and has a back-up diesel generator. The system will supply continuous power 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather,” it says.
Exmouth Golf Club President Neil Haywood said the system is ideal. “The SPS will also replace the powerlines and poles that service the club, enhancing the look of our facility and making it more attractive for members and visitors.”
Horizon boss Frank Tudor says Horizon Power was striving to be at the forefront of renewable energy alternatives as technology evolves.
“While SPS units are not connected to the network, our customers continue to receive the same high levels of reliability as those who are, and at no extra cost to the customer.”
The Exmouth initiative is part of a much-bigger initiative to shift consumers from expensive diesel and elongated and expensive networks to alternatives such as renewable energy and storage.
In major towns, such as Carnavon and Onslow, major installations are being put in place to reduce the cost of fossil fuels.
Two 1MWh batteries are being put in place to offset the use of fossil fuels at the Mungallah gas-fired power station in Carnarvon, while in Onslow, a town used as a base for the huge LNG projects, an even bigger transformation is taking place with a shift towards a renewable energy-focused micro-grid that will reduce the amount of fossil fuels by around 70 per cent.
In an interview with RenewEconomy earlier this year, Tudor said it was his goal to completely remove the huge subsidies that underpin the use of fossil fuels in his region – amounting to $250 million a year, or an average of $5,000 per customer.
“When I look at the electricity industry, we are going to go through massive transformation …. every pice of infrastructure will be permeate with some sort of solar power. It will be a completely different approach (to energy),” Tudor said at the time.
In his latest statement, Tudor says Horizon Power is now working with other customers in regional and remote Western Australia to remove poles and wires where this will provide a more efficient and cost-effective solution.
While traditional grid connections will remain critical for most customers, those at the remote fringes will use isolated systems, also known as microgrids, to replace older poles and wires.