Hon Sue Ellery BA MLC

Hon Sue Ellery BA MLC

Minister for Education and Training

Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Corrective Services; Industrial Relations

    Student power: Schools to transform into Virtual Power Plants as part of recovery

    2/09/2020 9:30 AM
    • WA schools to lead innovative $4 million Virtual Power Plant pilot project
    • Investment in battery storage could help cut school's electricity bills
    • The WA Recovery Plan project will promote the WA Government's transition to a cleaner energy future 

    Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery and Energy Minister Bill Johnston today revealed the Western Australian schools that will be transformed into smart, green Virtual Power Plants (VPP), as part of the WA Recovery Plan.


    Ten schools have been selected, including Belridge Secondary College where the announcement was made, to receive commercial batteries and solar panels - if they do not already have them.


    The batteries will enable schools to store their excess energy for later use, which will assist with grid stability.


    The other schools that will participate in the VPP pilot project include:

    • Baldivis Secondary College;
    • Rossmoyne Senior High School;
    • Butler College;
    • Coastal Lakes College, Lakelands;
    • Success Primary School;
    • Gilmore College, Orelia;
    • Joseph Banks Secondary College, Banksia Grove;
    • Comet Bay Primary School, Secret Harbour; and
    • Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School.  

    A VPP is a network of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles that are 'aggregated' and shared with an energy retailer.


    The schools, located in the South West Interconnected System, were determined by Synergy and the Department of Education based on operational, customer, system and technical considerations.


    Using Virtual Power Plants mean there is less of a need for traditional generation assets such as coal or gas, which is a step towards a more sustainable power system.


    This initiative forms part of the McGowan Government's Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap - for transitioning towards a cleaner, energy future.


    The $4 million investment forms part of the McGowan Government's $66.3 million renewable energy technologies package from the WA Recovery Plan, which will boost innovative, clean energy projects throughout Western Australia.


    The McGowan Government is focused on enhancing renewable energy technology at more schools across the State.


    For more information, visit https://www.synergy.net.au/Our-energy/For-you/Virtual-Power-Plant


    Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:


    "This pilot program will benefit schools, and at the same time create new jobs and teach new skills to build our future electricity system.


    "It will also provide an opportunity to further Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education for students."


    Comments attributed to Energy Minister Bill Johnston:


    "Western Australian schools will become Virtual Power Plants, highlighting the integration of rooftop solar, batteries and other small-scale technologies into our power grid.


    "The Virtual Power Plants will make the local electricity grid more stable and reliable, and assist in the transition towards a cleaner energy future."


    Comments attributed to Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton:


    "This is an exciting announcement for the Joondalup community and the students at Belridge Secondary College who will have the chance to learn more about renewable energy technologies.  


    "The Virtual Power Plant will be installed by the end of the year and will benefit the entire community with improved power quality."


    Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700

    Energy Minister's office - 6552 6700