The Eyre Peninsula (EP) is at the end of the National Electricity Market. The State-wide blackout of September 28, 2016 saw parts of EP with no power for over 3 days. In December, RDAWEP conducted a survey across EP about the impact of black outs. 320 respondents from the business and community sectors highlighted regular blackouts and voltage variations, which resulted in damaged equipment.

Earlier in October presentations were made to the tuna industry on a proposed smart mini-grid – i.e. setting up new technology so that businesses could swap solar power amongst themselves to lower electricity costs.

In January 2017, updates were provided in person to the Leader of the State Opposition and the State Energy Minister. The Minister subsequently asked the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA) to conduct an inquiry into the Reliability and Quality of Electricity Supply on the Eyre Peninsula. RDAWEP was appointed as the central point of contact for the Mayors’ Reference Group. In February, RDAWEP continued negotiations in Adelaide with SA Power Networks, ESCOSA and private contractors about potential energy solutions for the EP.

Visits were made to the town of Kimba to plan renewable energy projects. The Kimba Council has commissioned an energy audit team to prepare a business case to integrate renewable energy into Kimba’s electricity supply to increase supply reliability and produce community benefits through lower prices.

As part of the process to pursue sustainable energy solutions, RDAWEP hosted an economic forum at the 2017 EPLGA Conference in Coffin Bay, which included a presentation from Hydro Tasmania on pumped hydro energy storage.

Energy updates were also provided to the EP Minerals and Energy Resources Community Development Taskforce and SA Economic Development Board.

The pursuit of energy solutions is ongoing and extensive. In May 2017, energy updates were provided to the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council and Federal Member for Grey. The details of the proposed tuna industry smart mini-grid and Kimba renewable energy solution were workshopped further with contractors and energy auditors.

In June, RDAWEP provided advice at ElectraNet’s public consultation meeting regarding EP Electricity Supply Options. Analysis was also conducted of Dr Alan Finkel’s final report Blueprint for the Future: The Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Energy Market and recommendations were presented to the RDAWEP Board.

Solar Farms across Eyre Peninsula.

In Wudinna, RDAWEP facilitated negotiations to develop fair and equitable lease conditions for a large grid scale solar farm. In December 2016 connection enquiries were submitted to SA Power Networks (SAPN) by local private contractors for several large scale solar sites. SAPN has offered to connect sites at Wudinna and Cleve in November 2017.

Both sites will be designed with single axis tracking to flatten the production curve throughout the day and have storage capability for future deployment. The projects will have a combined generating capacity of 60MWp of solar PV (approximately 120GWh p.a.). There are further opportunities for innovation such as battery storage, black start capacity, voltage regulation and grid support services.

These projects will generate more than $100m of economic activity, creating 100 jobs during peak activity and 10 ongoing FTE. There will also be opportunities for regional skills development, capacity building and tourism. It is anticipated that project operations will commence by February 2018.

Port Lincoln Tuna Industry Solar PV – Smart Mini Grid/Virtual Net Metering Project

Participants have signed a letter of intent and completed high level energy audits, data collection and modelling of energy loads post project. The proposal incorporates a cloud automation solution providing visibility and control of the flexible load. The generation capability will facilitate an industry driven Distributed Energy Resource Management System enabling local industry, retail and network opportunities.

With SA Power Networks seeking load in the Port Lincoln area to improve reliability, the proposal will contribute to the creative mix of options benefiting EP’s energy needs through local industry dispatchable energy innovation and capacity building.

The Impact

Through continued lobbying, research and sharing of energy information, RDAWEP has established itself as the lead agency for pursuing energy solutions across the EP. RDAWEP was consequently appointed for a 2-year term to the SA Power Networks Renewable Reference Group to provide valuable insights into the practicalities of connecting renewables into the grid.

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