Onslow’s gas power switches on, solar on the way

Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News
VideoThe farm is located 200 kilometres north of Perth and boasts 75,000 panels.

The future of power supply will be switched on in Onslow this weekend as a gas-fired station prepares to fire up and work to roll out large-scale renewable technology.

The 5.25 megawatt station will be supplied with gas from the Dampier to Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline, and is set to switch on on Saturday.

Stage two of the power project has been approved and will see a 1MW solar farm, storage system, rooftop solar panels and battery storage systems throughout Onslow work together to provide at least half the town’s energy needs.

Horizon Power chief executive Frank Tudor said the lessons learned from the project would be applicable across the Horizon Power network and other remote grids.

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“The first phase is a platform for a very different-looking power system that we are going to have up here,” he said.

“We will turn the paradigm around, we will have thermal generation as the back-up and the community supplying most of its own power through batteries and solar power which they will deploy on their roofs.

“The sector is changing dramatically. We have something like 8000MW in distributed energy across the country.”

Shire of Ashburton president Kerry White said it was nice to see Onslow at the forefront of renewable energy.

“We are not left behind any more,” she said.

“We are looking forward to stage two. When Horizon is ready they will come and communicate with the community and that will be the exciting stage.”

Energy Minister Ben Wyatt said the project was solving the challenge of integrating renewables into existing electricity networks.

Once completed in mid-2019, the Onslow renewables project will be the largest hybrid renewable energy microgrid in Australia.

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