Environment

First ‘virtual power plant’ for Goldfields

WA Premier Mark McGowan says the state government will invest $500,000 in the development of the first virtual power plant in Australia, located in the Goldfields.

Described as a rooftop solar and battery system, the VPP can also be dispatched to its own version of a centralised power station.

The project aims to produce large-scale renewable energy in the district.

The system will be installed throughout select parts of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region with the possibility of powering some housing in the area.

The state government has consulted local industry, energy groups, mining companies, solar developers and relevant government agencies about the project which has no completion date as of yet.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan says the state government is well prepared to implement the project.

“We now have a comprehensive analysis of the complexities of a large-scale solar project in the region, and mapped out some innovative and interesting ways forward,” she says.

“Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the wider region is a big economic contributor to the State. Future renewable energy solutions will be a priority to securing regional growth and servicing the needs of this growing regional population,” she added.

Energy Minister Ben Wyatt urged caution and said the government would introduce careful testing.

“Despite the Goldfields being an obvious location for a major solar project with year-round high solar energy levels, input to the electricity grid in the region needs to be carefully managed.”