Energy innovation to aid conservation and cultural tourism

  • Western Power installs first stand-alone power system (SPS) for a community group
  • The SPS will significantly improve power reliability in the Great Southern region
  • Western Power has installed its first stand-alone power system (SPS) for a community group at Greening Australia’s 750-hectare Nowanup property.

    The renewable energy solution, located at Boxwood Hill, will significantly aid conservation efforts and cultural tourism at the property.

    Since the property is located at the end of a spur line, it has been subject to many power outages due to stormy weather and bushfires.

    The SPS features solar panels, a battery for energy storage and a generator for backup, which will significantly improve power reliability by replacing the ageing overhead assets.

    It will provide secure power for Greening Australia’s site, which is regularly used by local Indigenous communities and the Indigenous Nowanup Rangers as part of Gondwana Link, a biodiversity project that spans 1,000 kilometres across Western Australia’s South-West.

    It will also enable the local community and Curtin University to expand the use of the property as a bush campus, allowing Noongar learning and teachings in a bush setting.

    The site is one of three properties owned by Greening Australia in the Gondwana Link; the not-for-profit is a key player helping to reverse the decline of native wildlife and reconnecting patches of healthy bush to improve and conserve the habitat.

    Western Power is installing 52 SPS on regional properties in the Mid-West, Wheatbelt and Great Southern this year, with a further 100 planned for 2021.

    As stated by Energy Minister Bill Johnston:

    “The McGowan Government is committed to an energy transformation that benefits all Western Australians, particularly our regional communities.

    “Stand-alone power systems directly benefit our State by improving power reliability, facilitating greener energy and supporting community organisations and businesses.

    “This collaboration with Greening Australia highlights how alternative energy solutions, such as stand-alone power systems, can make a real difference to regional conservation and cultural tourism.”

    As stated by Greening Australia’s Barry Heydenrych:

    “The stand-alone power system will reduce bushfire risk, as the poles and wires in the area won’t need to be used.

    “Power failures have been frequent, and particularly given our line of work, bushfires are a constant concern. A big bushfire would damage all the good work we’ve been doing.

    “Another big appeal for us is that we will be creating our power mainly from the sun, which is something that resonates with everyone.

    “One of the things we asked was whether it could be upgraded, and because it is a modular technology, it can.

    “The unit will deal with our power requirements right now, and in the future if we need it, we can scale things up.”

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