Rooftop solar and battery storage take centre stage in W.A energy transition

WA's 20-year blueprint into clean energy

A 20-year blueprint into how the clean energy transition may unfold in Western Australia has forecast a trebling of renewables by 2040, and a grid were rooftop solar will continue to displace traditional forms of generation, particularly coal.

The Whole of System Plan is similar to AEMO’s Integrated System Plan for Australia’s main grid, but applies only to WA’s South West Interconnected System, possibly the world’s biggest isolated grid.

And the key message from state energy minister Bill Johnston, who launched the WOSP on Monday, is that rooftop solar and battery storage will play a big part in the state’s future, not just filling in the gaps in generation but also providing key grid services.

In higher demand scenarios, the WOSP forecasts that larger-scale wind and solar will assume a greater role and where new transmission and gas fired generation is also required.

“It’s the most comprehensive modelling study ever undertaken into the future of WA’s electricity system and it will support our transition to low-cost electricity,” said Johnston, in a statement.“Our state is embracing renewable generation, with one in three households having rooftop solar panels, this signifies that battery storage will play an important role in our future.”

Unlike AEMO’s ISP, the WOSP does not envisage the complete elimination of coal by 2040, but it does admit that it may struggle to survive. In some scenarios, half of the coal capacity could be removed within five years.