Horizon Power, Western Australia’s regional and remote power provider, services customers across 2.3 million square kilometres, including some of the most isolated communities in the world. The dispersed population and generally high cost to supply has required the utility to think differently about how it delivers power within a variety of conditions and to a range of customers, many of whom are isolated.
Aging infrastructure identified on distribution spur lines supplying customers east of Esperance presented an opportunity for the utility to prove the commercial viability of Stand-Alone Power System (SAPS) as a utility grade alternative power solution to poles and wires.
Providing safe reliable power that met or exceeded the utility’s obligations under its charter.
Analysing the load profile, demands and usage requirements of each customer, many of whom were farmers with intense energy usage equipment.
Mitigating the impact of a power outage on end-of-grid customers by sizing the battery to be capable of providing 4 – 5 hours of back-up power, allowing the utility time to rectify an issue.
Environmental impacts including minimising ground disturbance.
Locality considerations, including:
Ease of access for deployment and servicing.
Safe distance from agricultural chemicals.
Horizon Power was able to permanently remove 64 kilometres of aging poles and wires, making it the first utility in Australia to achieve this.
Cost to serve
Operating costs significantly reduce as a result of removing traditional poles and wires.
This has the flow on effect of lowering associated costs such as network maintenance and upgrades, and number of outages.
The falling costs of components, including solar panels and batteries, is making SAPS an increasingly viable proposition and a more cost-effective alternative to traditional poles and wires.
Reduction in cost to maintain as a result of no longer needing to undertake routine maintenance or attend to unplanned outages.
Once a year on-site maintenance to top up the diesel generator and service the system.
Reliability and quality of power
Significant reduction in power interruptions – on average, installing SAPS has reduced outages to less than 30 minutes a year, which is in line with metropolitan areas.
The 24-hour remote system monitoring quickly detects and resolves issues, reducing the likelihood and the impact of power outages.
Improved quality of power, with factors such as power fluctuations a thing of the past.
Back-up generator automatically kicks in, if required, with customers experiencing no interruption to power supply or quality.
Farm safety and land usage
Enabling farm machinery to move safely in paddocks without the risk of colliding with poles, damaging machinery or injuring people.
Allowing farmers to maximise land usage.
Making it significantly safer for aerial spraying as aircraft can fly low and stay low.