Sixth Tesla community battery installed in Western Australia PowerBank trial

 

A sixth Tesla community battery has been installed in suburban Perth, as part of the Western Australia government’s bid to improve the electricity supply to parts of the Western Power grid without adding more poles and wires while also offering virtual home energy storage.

The installation of the latest community PowerBank, in this case a 464kWh Tesla battery energy storage system, was unveiled at Salamanca Reserve in the bayside southern-Perth suburb of Port Kennedy, on Friday.

It is the second such installation in a Perth metropolitan region, and the sixth all up under the Labor McGowan government’s Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, including in Meadow Springs, Falcon, Ellenbrook, Kalgoorlie and, most recently, Busselton.

(According to Western Power, it brings the total number of utility-grade community batteries installed on its network to 13, but only the above six are trialing the PowerBank community storage product with Western Power and Synergy.)

In a statement on Friday, the government said network-connected batteries had reduced in price “substantially” over the past few years and were a smarter approach to network modification than most traditional solutions.

This is particularly the case for suburbs like Port Kennedy, which is ranked in the top 20 suburbs in Western Australia for residential solar uptake, with one in three households generating their own renewable power.

The addition of the community battery aims to help manage the flow of all that rooftop solar power on the local City of Rockingham grid, make way for more solar to be installed and, further down the track, offer solar households virtual storage to store their excess rooftop power and use it when needed.

“Port Kennedy’s new community battery will provide immediate benefits for the network by balancing demand, maintaining power quality to local homes and businesses, and allowing more homes in the area to install solar panels,” said W.A. energy minister Bill Johnston in comments on Friday.

“Western Power continues to identify other high-solar penetration areas to install more community batteries and I look forward to announcing these locations later this year,” he said.

“The extra potential that community batteries unlock for customers is another reason why we are supporting further rollouts across the network and why we’re encouraging energy storage trials, like the PowerBank model.”

Western Australia premier Mark McGowan, himself a resident of the City of Rockingham, said his government’s recent Electricity Industry Amendment Bill 2019, and its Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap, had boosted the speed of the battery rollout.

“Community batteries like this one in Port Kennedy is a great example of how our legislative changes have been applied in practical and meaningful ways to help local Western Australians and businesses all over WA,” he said.

“Western Australia is fortunate as we can harness the sun as a renewable energy source, so it’s no surprise that we’re leading the nation in network storage solutions as well.”

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