Western Australia continues on its nation-leading way in renewable microgrid development, with the announcement of a new solar and battery project to power an industrial estate in Nambeelup, south of Perth.
The state government-funded project, to be developed by a consortium led by gas network owner Enwave Australia, will combine an as-yet undisclosed amount of solar and battery storage to power the 120-hectare Peel Business Park.
In an announcement on Thursday, the McGowan government said it was an “innovative solution” to the high cost of extending the mains grid to the estate, and to fast-tracking the establishment of the Business Park.
The estate will still be grid-connected, however, and will use electricity from the Western Power network as back-up.
The government said the microgrid would have the potential to be increased in size, beyond LandCorp’s current landholding, via “interested neighbouring landowners.”
There would also be the option to lease roof space from businesses to add more panels and bolster the capacity of the microgrid.
At this stage, however, the solar and storage is expected to deliver annual energy bill savings of around 30 per cent to businesses that take up at the estate, compared to bundled energy tariffs.
And its construction is expected to create around 1862 jobs in the first phase of the business park’s development, with a further 2,000 local jobs once the park is fully built out.
“The Peel Business Park in Nambeelup is being created for forward-thinking businesses and this next generation thinking is reflected in the Park’s proposed microgrid,” said W.A. regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan.
“The microgrid offers clear incentives for businesses to relocate to the Peel Business Park, helping to drive job creation in the Peel region,” she said.
“This is a smart, sustainable solution for a broader project that will be built on innovation,” added lands minister Ben Wyatt.
“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.”
Enwave, meanwhile, has some experience with industrial projects of this kind, with its subsidiary Enwave Energy leading development of the District Energy Scheme solar and battery microgrid at the Tonsley Innovation District in South Australia.
As reported here in July, that project has seen Enwave Energy subcontract ZEN Energy to install and maintain the system, while Siemens will provide smart network design services.
The solar installation – which may eventually reach the size of 6MW – will ultimately work in conjunction with on-site battery storage and smart technologies as part of a site-wide microgrid.