The Peel Business Park renewable energy industrial microgrid is an innovative solution to the high costs of extending the mains grid into the estate, and will speed up the development of industrial land and development opportunities for the Business Park delivering much needed jobs to the region.
The microgrid began operating in December 2020. Find out more about the microgrid with the following FAQ's.
What is an Industrial Microgrid?
A Microgrid offers a network of adjacent electricity users with a local source of supply that is usually attached to a centralized grid but draws from directly connected onsite generation. In some cases, Microgrids can minimise the need for upfront investment in electricity network infrastructure by allowing electricity demand to be serviced locally and behind a conventional electricity meter.
Industrial and Commercial Microgrids are maturing quickly in North America and Asia Pacific but Microgrids that are established in order to minimise the need for upfront investment in electricity network infrastructure are relatively new to Western Australia.
The main reasons for the installation of an industrial microgrid are to minimise potential costly infrastructure upgrades for existing energy supply networks, power supply security, reliability and the integration of low cost embedded generation including from renewables.
Why does Peel Business Park need a Microgrid?
Peel Business Park, the catalyst for the Transform Peel program, is situated in a semi-rural area which prior to development, had limited access to essential services such as power. DevelopmentWA considered that the Microgrid could avoid a costly network upgrade while also lowering power costs to businesses moving to the Park by integrating both grid supply with locally deployed embedded renewable energy generation and a battery storage system. The Peel Business Park Industrial Microgrid is the first of its kind in Western Australia.
How does it work?
Electricity was initially supplied throughout the Park from a combination of electricity generated locally through the deployment of a 1 MW ground mounted solar farm and as necessary, electricity sourced from the SWIS grid network. A battery energy storage system was also deployed to moderate, store and discharge power across these different sources and demand needs in the Park, including storing any surplus local generation at points in time and discharge the power later, when required.
As the Park grows and the demand for electricity increases, this demand will be met by minimising the need for expanding the Industrial Microgrid networks or supply from the Western Power SWIS grid network. This will be achieved through various measures within the microgrid such as increased embedded generation and storage options, as well as demand-side management.
In particular, it is expected that the microgrid operator will install solar panels on the roofs of businesses within the Peel Business Park under lease agreements. The microgrid operator will look to pay for the supply and installation of these roof top solar panels and will lease roof space off the business occupants.
The microgrid operator will integrate this network of roof top solar panels with the ground based solar farm and battery energy storage system, which is expected to be supplemented as the Park grows. The microgrid operator may also look to add other forms of embedded generation and network power supply (based on established augmentation principles to be published) to facilitate future customer demand including particularly large load customers that locate to the Park.
Who is the energy supplier for the Microgrid?
After an extensive three stage procurement process, DevelopmentWA has appointed a consortium led by Peel Renewable Energy, formerly known as Enwave Australia, to develop Australia’s first ever renewable energy microgrid to power an industrial estate, at the Peel Business Park in Nambeelup
The Consortium consists of Peel Renewable Energy, Sunrise Energy Group, a WA specialist in behind the meter, embedded renewable energy solutions and Synergy, WA’s biggest electricity and gas retailer.
Peel Renewable Energy is committed to successfully delivering, owning and being the long term microgrid operator in the Peel Business Park, drawing on their experience in owning and operating precinct energy and utility infrastructure in other parts of Australia.
What is the difference between the electricity I get from my current energy provider compared to the Microgrid?
The electricity from the Peel Business Park Industrial microgrid is subject to the same quality and performance obligations as apply to the Western Power electricity network. Compliance with these obligations will be administered by Western Australia’s Economic Regulation Authority, which is the regulator responsible for administering Western Australia’s licensing and economic regulation framework.
The microgrid operator will also be required to comply with the same consumer protection obligations as apply to Synergy, as a retailer on the SWIS and Western Power, as a network operator, on the SWIS. Rather than each lot in the Peel Business Park being connected directly to the SWIS grid they will be connected (along with meters) to the Peel Business Park Microgrid network, which will have a single SWIS grid connection at the boundary of the Park.
The microgrid operator will be responsible for delivering power to each lot. The integrated nature of the microgrid will also allow the microgrid operator and customers to work closely together on more tailored energy arrangements to suit their individual needs, than those generally available in the SWIS.
Will I save money on my power bills?
It is anticipated that the microgrid operator will be able to offer electricity at rates that are around 30% lower than a comparable supply under Synergy’s regulated tariffs, which are published in Synergy’s by-laws. Where large customers are ineligible for Synergy’s regulated tariffs, it is anticipated that electricity rates will be very competitive with offers that would be available from SWIS connected supply.
If I have a business at Peel Business Park, do I have to use the Microgrid?
Yes, the Microgrid is how each property connects to the electricity network, so if you want to be connected to the network you will have to do so through the Microgrid. It is expected that energy supplied from the microgrid will be both the cheapest source and with a higher renewable content than that available elsewhere. However, if businesses decide not to use the microgrid operator to supply its power needs, the microgrid operator will liaise with your preferred alternative retailer to facilitate your power supply as per a published access contract.
Will it be noisy or be harmful to be near?
No, the Microgrid is not noisy or harmful, renewable energy is primarily sourced from solar panels, similar in composition to residential solar panels.
Why are DevelopmentWA deploying a Microgrid?
DevelopmentWA is facilitating the construction and operation of an electricity microgrid within the Peel Business Park to supply occupants of its landholdings, with the expectation of eventually expanding the service to all occupants within the Peel Business Park. The microgrid will be designed, constructed and operated by the microgrid operator.
DevelopmentWA’s commitment to sustainable development is underpinned by the Western Australia Land Authority Act (1992), which must take into account and balance social, economic and environmental outcomes. Our aim is to achieve optimum outcomes in our developments and to continue to improve our practices to ensure that design and sustainability are at the forefront of planning and development, providing value for present and future generations. True sustainable development creates shared value for economic, social and environmental benefit relative to cost creating greater value for the community of Western Australia.
DevelopmentWA is committed to demonstrating high quality design and sustainability initiatives in our developments to promote resource efficiency and encourage lifestyle opportunities that are integrated into the surrounding community and natural environment. DevelopmentWA will be seeking certification of the development under the Envirodevelopment sustainability accreditation scheme.
Where is the Microgrid located?
The microgrid is comprised of generation equipment and an electrical network to transmit the power throughout the Peel Business Park. The initial generation equipment, comprised of 1MW of solar panels and a 2MWHr battery, is located on a lot within DevelopmentWA’s Stage 1 release in the Peel Business Park. As customers build out their premises within the Park, the microgrid operator will lease roof space from occupants to install additional solar panels.
Has this been done elsewhere?
Microgrids have been used in Australia and globally for many years, including in the case of airports, shopping centres, residential apartment complexes and remote mine sites. Increasingly these microgrids are incorporating renewable generation as a source of power. Existing microgrids in WA are deployed in strata titled developments. The Peel Business Park will be the first industrial estate in WA to integrate a microgrid over multiple “green titles” or parcels of land in “fee simple”, including the use of renewable generation and battery storage.
DevelopmentWA and Enwave also believe that the Microgrid is likely to be the first SWIS connected Microgrid or embedded network in Western Australia established in order to minimise upfront network augmentation costs.
How many businesses can connect to the Microgrid?
The microgrid is expected to extend beyond DevelopmentWA’s landholding in the Park with uptake from the neighbouring landowners that are part of the larger Peel Business Park development. It is anticipated that the core infrastructure installed in the DevelopmentWA subdivision will be leveraged to allow this expansion to occur with minimal infrastructure upgrade.