Government ‘rubberstamps’ Onslow solar plan

Robert DoughertyPilbara News
A solar array in Marble Bar. Photo: Horizon Power
Camera IconA solar array in Marble Bar. Photo: Horizon Power Credit: Picture: Horizon Power

There’s a new push for renewable energy in the Pilbara with Onslow set to become the home of Australia’s largest energy microgrid, mirroring similar systems in Marble Bar.

The State Government has rubberstamped approvals for the next phase of the distributed energy resources project in Onslow.

Initial stages of the project include a near-complete new gas- fired power station and preparations for development of a large solar farm and battery storage system.

Similar ground mounted solar systems in Marble Bar and Nullagine power use 2000 solar modules and a single axis solar tracking system to follow the path of the sun throughout the day, supplying both towns with close to 60 per cent of their power through solar.

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Horizon Power managing director Frank Tudor said completion of the solar farm 18km from town and battery storage is expected in the first half of 2019.

VideoAn expanse of solar panels and wind turbines could export renewable energy to Indonesia.

“This is demonstrating our capacity to deliver the safe and reliable integration of renewable energy into our existing systems throughout regional and remote Western Australia,” he said.

“Together with these central energy assets, we’re also developing technology and infrastructure platforms to ultimately enable our customers to easily and efficiently connect, generate, store and sell their own electricity.

“Our DER microgrids will deliver more affordable and sustainable electricity to communities, giving customers more choice over how they receive their energy and greater ability to lower their power bills.”

Under its State Development Agreement, the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project has financially contributed for Horizon Power to build the power infrastructure for both project stages, and the solar farm contract has been awarded to Complete Power Systems National.

A utility-scale battery will be built and installed by Contract Power Australia within Horizon Power’s new zone substation about 3km from the town centre, to supply power to Onslow.

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