Why we love Stand-alone Power Systems
WA has one of the largest isolated electricity networks in the world.
So that presents us with an interesting challenge. We need to continue providing our customers with reliable and safe power, while also bringing more renewables onto the grid as we undergo an exciting energy transformation. And do it all in a cost-effective way.
An innovative solution to this challenge is our Stand-alone Power Systems.
Stand-alone Power Systems (SPS) have redefined the way we provide access to power in regional areas.
It was one of the first new technologies we introduced as part of our wider energy transformation, to provide safe and reliable power to customers in regional and remote parts of the grid.
SPS really are a win for everyone – our customers have access to renewable and a more reliable power, the community benefits from a reduced bushfire risk (by decommissioning many thousands of kms of overhead powerlines and replacing with SPS) and the grid’s network maintenance costs are reduced.
Many more SPS on the way for WA
We’re investing in this innovative energy solution, with up to 4000 SPS to be rolled out across the grid over the coming decade.
With the installation of these 4000 units comes the progressive decomissioning of approx 15,000 kms of overhead powerline. We’re off to a cracking start - with more than 150 SPS units installed in regional WA, and strong customer satisfaction.
Smart off-grid power solutions for regional WA
Stand-alone Power Systems are redefining how we deliver power to our remote customers.
As WA is home to one of the largest island grids in the world, delivering electricity across such a vast network can be challenging. Some customers rely on long stretches of powerlines which can easily be affected by environmental factors - wind, rain, vegetation contact and lightning - so power isn't always reliable and maintaining these lines can be costly.
But Stand-Alone Power Systems, or SPS for short, are changing all that.
How do SPS work?
Stand-alone Power Systems are off-grid systems that operate independently from the main network. Each SPS consists of a renewable energy supply such as solar panels, battery energy storage system and a backup generator, making them completely self-sufficient power units.
Energy is generated through the solar panels, providing power to the property and keeping the unit’s battery charged for when the battery is depleted. The generator kicks in when the battery is low to keep energy flowing. Watch the video to see SPS in action.
Under the program, Western Power pays for the transition to SPS and for the operation and maintenance of the unit.
When did we start installing SPS across WA?
In 2016, we launched a trial at six farming properties in the Great Southern. During the three-year trial, more than 189 hours of outages were avoided.
The trial’s success led to the roll out of an additional 52 units in 2020 and 72 in 2022 – but it doesn’t end there.
180 SPS units are planned before the end of 2024 with up to 4000 SPS to be rolled out across the grid over the coming decade.
Our modelling predicts more than 6000 units being deployed over the coming decades.
Here's what our SPS customers said...
"We rely so heavily on power. During shearing season we have the wool press on, then all the lights in the shed not to mention the freezers in the cool rooms, electric fences and the welders - pulling in all this current. The continual supply of power is what it's all about for us, our business and life on the farm. But it's also environmentally friendly, takes up little space and unobtrusive, I think that’s a word!"
"There’s 42km of poles and wires running to that transformer and we’re hoping they will be able to get rid of them as they won’t be needed. We’d be really pleased about that as they are a bushfire risk and a bit of a pain when you are trying to crop around poles..."
Kelvin & Lara Kent
"Buying a generator would have cost us around $10,000, so the timing for getting SPS was good as it saves us on that cost, as well as giving us more reliable power.”
“As well as giving us better power supply, it would reduce our bushfire risk as the poles and wires in the area won’t need to be used.”
“I knew about the Ravensthorpe trial and thought it sounded great, so I’d been hoping it would come here. That unit will be enough for the house, given I’ve even got a wood-fired hot water system.”
“As well as not having to tidy up around the poles, we don’t need to touch the SPS units. Western Power even come out to check and fill up the back-up generator for us, so we don’t need to touch anything.”