Horizon Power is conducting a pilot project to test the commercial viability of delivering decentralised, high penetration renewable energy to entire towns across regional Australia, and prove that distributed energy resources (DER) can increase renewable energy penetration on existing microgrids.
- Horizon Power is transforming its business model from predominantly centralised fossil-fuelled generation to largely decentralised energy delivery into its networks. We foresee our customers playing an increasingly important role in providing energy for their community
- The project has broadened our understanding of the impact of the energy transition on Horizon Power’s business model, system planning, technology choices, operational practices, and the development of innovative customer-facing products
- Horizon Power conducted a series of Distributed Energy Resource (DER) technology trials which added considerable knowledge to our understanding of DER aggregation into virtual power plants and how to orchestrate DER in a microgrid setting
- The trials have helped us build a clearer understanding of the technical and economic viability of a high penetration DER business future for towns across regional Australia.
How the project works
The project will install a variety of distributed energy technologies for households and businesses in Carnarvon, Western Australia. Technologies include energy meter devices connected to the internet to send and receive data (i.e. as part of the ‘internet of things’), solar PV, batteries and inverters with remote monitoring and control devices.
Horizon Power will use collected data and customer interaction with the technology to inform new retail models that will enable and incentivise customers to participate in the provision of energy services to the grid.
Area of innovation
The project will develop an advanced model for renewable energy integration for towns that have reached their current available solar PV hosting capacity. The project will help to resolve the economic and technical barriers of a DER system, furthering Horizon Power’s understanding of high penetration solar and enabling technologies such as battery storage and communication platforms.
Horizon Power believes that a DER model will be the most cost effective electricity supply model for its network. The trials of distributed energy systems will explore the most cost-effective way of designing and maintaining a future grid. Project Highgarden will also explore the most economically efficient ways to design and manage a future grid to reduce dependence on centralised fossil fuelled generation and reduce carbon emissions.
As Australians embrace rooftop solar at world-leading rates, work is underway to create a modern, fairer electricity system for the future.
It’s happening fast and it can’t be ignored; the way our energy system operates is undergoing a massive transformation.
According to the twentieth century model of energy distribution, large power plants fuelled by coal, hydro or gas, generated electricity that was distributed via a centralised grid.