A new renewable energy-powered microgrid, which has the potential to be Australia's biggest, will be constructed in Kalbarri in a bid to improve reliability for local residents and holiday-makers.
Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the microgrid would include a large-scale battery with a minimum capacity of two megawatt hours, as well as renewable generation sources such as the Kalbarri wind farm, and rooftop solar on Kalbarri households.
Dr Nahan said the lessons learned from this type of microgrid would be closely investigated to see how it could benefit other Western Australian towns.
"This is a game changer for regional communities who rely on power from a long feeder line, which is subject to environmental factors that can cause outages," the Minister said.
"In the event of an outage on the main feeder line that supplies electricity to Kalbarri from Geraldton, the microgrid will ensure the Kalbarri community will still have power until the fault is corrected.
"The project, which has the potential to be Australia's biggest renewable microgrid, will consider all generation options and take into account the community's desire for a renewable solution."
Dr Nahan said Western Power would seek expressions of interest in December 2016.
"It is expected contracts will be in place and the project will be underway by 2017, with a commitment to have the microgrid up and running, as quickly as possible, for the people of Kalbarri," he said.
In July 2016, the Liberal National Government announced six properties in regional WA were trialling stand-alone power systems, made up of solar panels and battery storage.
Kalbarri is supplied by a 140km-long rural feeder line, which experiences outages due to environmental factors
A microgrid, composing of wind and solar power, as well as a large-scale battery, will improve the reliability of the town's electricity network
Kalbarri's town peak is currently 3.7MW
This microgrid will explore a 5MW peak capable system with 2MWh battery storage
Minister's office - 6552 5700