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Farmers go off the grid east of Esperance

January 09 2022

  • Nineteen more standalone power systems completed east of Esperance as part of the Renew the Regions program

  • Farming customers go off the grid to benefit from more reliable power and the removal of poles and wires from paddocks

The first 19 standalone power systems (SPS) have been completed in the Beaumont and Mount Ney areas east of Esperance. 

These are the first of the next 45 standalone power systems to be deployed in the Esperance region by March this year and will result in many large, commercial farms at the fringes of Horizon Power’s overhead networktransitioning to off-grid power.

This follows the successful deployment of 24 similar systems east of Esperance over the last five years, with the first five commissioned in 2016 in the immediate aftermath of the Esperance fires.

This was a first for an Australian utility at the time and has enabled over 200 kilometres of powerlines to beremoved from private paddocks to date.

Powered by solar panels and battery storage with back-up diesel generation, standalone power systems deliver safer, greener, and more reliable power to rural customers. Each system is remotely monitored and controlled by Horizon Power, with faults diagnosed and rectified remotely, and regular on-site maintenance conducted by local crews.

The latest 45 systems are being delivered by Horizon Power and its joint venture partner Boundary Power as part of a $10 million Renew the Regions program, funded by the State Government as part of its WA Recovery Plan.

They will result in an additional 120 kilometres of poles and wires being removed from private paddocks. This benefit has proven very attractive to farmers operating increasingly large farming equipment and having to safely navigate electrical infrastructure on their farms during seeding and harvesting.

“Horizon Power is committed to creating safe and reliable renewable energy alternatives for our regional and remote customers,” Horizon Power Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Unwin said.

“Horizon Power pioneered standalone power solutions in Western Australia in response to the impacts of the 2015 Esperance bushfires. They provide improved reliability and reduce the risk of fire and safety incidents on farms caused by machinery connecting with the overhead network.”

In March 2021, the State Government made an election commitment to deliver over 1,000 standalone power systems to be manufactured and installed across the regions and in remote Aboriginal communities.

Horizon Power has been allocated $45.8 million to install 150 systems in regional Western Australia over three years. The remaining systems will be delivered by Western Power over five years.

 

Horizon Power acknowledges the Traditional Custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.

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