Western Australia’s government-owned utility, Western Power, has installed a 13th community battery on the state’s grid – but in this case on the customer connection side as part of a unique five-year trial with the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River.
The trial, launched on the weekend, is based around a 464 kilowatt-hour (kWh) Tesla battery energy storage system installed at the Margaret River Recreation Centre, where it will manage the Centre’s rooftop solar generation before it enters the network.
🍷 🏄 Not only is Margaret River the home of great wineries and fantastic surf, it’s now also home to a community battery…
The Tesla battery, like others installed before it, will serve the broader grid by ‘smoothing’ demand issues, including low load, which can hit when customer solar generation is high but power demand is low.
For the local community, the battery will improve power quality by helping to absorb excess solar generation, and open up more capacity for residents and businesses to install rooftop PV.
Western Power will operate the battery and collect data to “discover the full reach of battery benefits to the community” and identify more locations on the state’s expansive network where batteries could assist industry, retailers and other commercial partners.
State energy minister Bill Johnston said the new trial was part of the ongoing transformation of Western Australia’s energy landscape.
The Margaret River battery follows the installation of six other Tesla community batteries – or PowerBanks – being rolled out under the Labor McGowan government’s Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap.
The PowerBank batteries, which ultimately aim to offer local solar households virtual battery storage for their excess rooftop solar generation, have been installed in Meadow Springs, Falcon, Ellenbrook, Kalgoorlie, Busselton and, most recently, the southern Perth suburb of Port Kennedy.
“Much of the heavy lifting has been done through changes to legislation and providing clear direction on opportunities through the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap,” said Johnston in a statement on Saturday.
“Community batteries are proving to be a versatile solution to network challenges and I’d like to congratulate the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River for their innovative approach by embracing renewable technology.
“The community battery will also give local commercial properties with large solar outputs an opportunity to further reduce their bills.”