Western Australia’s Horizon Power and Ampcontrol have launched Boundary Power as a JV for deployment of stand-alone power systems.
The formation of Boundary Power is a Western Australia government initiative towards building a world-class stand-alone power system (SPS) industry in the state.
Stand-alone power systems are an off-grid electricity resource, typically comprising solar panels, battery storage, inverters and a back-up generator.
Horizon Power, the Western Australia state electricity enterprise responsible for its large rural area, has been a pioneer in the use of these systems for rural electrification and was the first utility in Australia to demonstrate their commercial viability as an alternative to replacing aging poles and wires.
Such systems are now being deployed increasingly in rural farming communities in Australia to provide power to one or a small handful of farms in lieu of distribution upgrades. Such farms are often served via hundreds of kilometres of lines, which are complicated and costly to maintain and outages are common.
During 2019 Horizon Power working with control solutions company Ampcontrol deployed 17 SPSs on edge-of-grid customer properties in the south of the state with the removal of 64km of poles and wire.
“Congratulations to Horizon Power and Ampcontrol on their joint venture, which will allow them to design and install SPS solutions across Australia,” said Western Australia Energy Minister Bill Johnston.
“Western Australia continues be a world-leader in SPS technology, which is one of the reasons why the state government is working with industry to capitalise on this emerging market.”
The Western Australia government is investing Au$10 million (US$7.7 million) in deploying SPSs across regional areas, with the first of 45 units being installed in mid-February.
This follows an earlier award in January of Au$17 million to five Western Australia contractors to deploy 98 SPSs across Western Power’s network in the southwestern part of the state starting in July 2021.
These units will replace around 330km of overhead powerlines, which would have needed to be replaced at a significant cost. They will also improve land amenity for farmers and reduce bushfire risk.
Boundary Power’s launch was accompanied with the unveiling a new, modular SPS Gen 2, which is easier to transport and instal, and can be ready to export energy in just 90 minutes.
SPSs are sometimes referred to as microgrids but lack the control systems that characterise microgrids that are grid-connected and islandable.