Successfully integrating traditional thermal generation with solar PV and battery storage systems, state government-owned utility provider Horizon Power was on Monday awarded the 2020 Australian Institute of Project Management Achievement Award in the category of Regional Projects for its Onslow Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Project.
The project, which Horizon says pushes the boundaries of how the energy sector currently operates, includes a 1MW centralised solar farm, a 1MWh battery bank, a modular gas power station with 8 MW of installed capacity, a 15km long 33kV transmission line, a zone substation, an extension to the 11kV town distribution network. The company told pv magazine Australia the project has proven that centralised assets, like the solar farm, utility batteries and gas power station, can operate in harmony with large scale customer based assets, like residential rooftop solar and battery storage, to distribute across the network.
The project, described by Horizon Power’s Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Unwin as “unchartered territory” required the company work closely with industry specialists, suppliers, contractors and, importantly, the community.
In the town of just over 800 people, the community have been incentivised to install solar and battery technology in their homes as part of the project which has tested how renewable energy can be managed in isolated regional communities.
“Horizon Power recognised some time ago that distributed energy resources held great potential for remote communities, particularly where traditional fuels such as diesel often contribute to a high cost to serve electricity,” Unwin said.