WA’s Horizon Power says distributed solar & energy storage may play big role in grid’s future

Horizon Power, the utility that provides power to regional and remote parts of Western Australia, has recognized that the future of electricity is likely to form around distributed power, and much of that a combination of solar and energy storage.

As Jonathan Gifford reports from RenewEconomy, Horizon Power Managing Director Frank Tudor says the utility is reassessing whether centralised generation assets are the best way to supply towns in the future.

“Our traditional energy business may be very different and very small (in the future),” Tudor told a conference in Perth this week. “Our cost of generation and distribution at some sites is around $2 or $3/kWh,” said Tudor. “In light of this and even with battery prices remaining relatively high, PV plus storage is more than cost competitive.”

His remarks echo those made last year by Queensand’s Ergon Energy, which also services regional and remote areas, and which predicted that within 10 years customers may be better off with solar and storage than being connected to the grid.
“Once you start the process of thinking about change, you owe it to customers and business to do it quickly,” said Tudor.

Horizon last month called for expressions of interest to supply six towns in the mid-west of WA with 2 MW PV installations, coupled with 1,400kWh of storage. The installations are slated for the towns of Cue, Meekatharra, Wiluna, Mt Magnet, Yalgoo and Sandstone and deliver is scheduled for within two years.

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Giles Parkinson