28/01/2021 - 14:07

$17m contracts for power roll out

28/01/2021 - 14:07

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The state government has awarded contracts worth $17 million for 98 new stand-alone power systems and partial funding for a $9.4 million biofuel plant.

$17m contracts for power roll out
Curtin University professor Chun-Zhu Li with Renergi's biomass gasification technology. Photo: Curtin University

The state government has awarded contracts worth $17 million for 98 new stand-alone power systems and partial funding for a $9.4 million biofuel plant.

The successful SPS contractors are Hybrid Systems, BayWar.e. Solar Systems, Balance Utility Solutions and NSW-based AGL Energy Services, who has subcontracted Bunbury-based Positive Off-Grid Solutions.

BayWar.e. Solar Systems, headquartered in WA, is a subsidiary of German BayWa Group.

Starting in July 2021, 98 SPS will be deployed across regional WA marking Australia’s largest single rollout of standalone systems yet.

A SPS is an electricity generator and storage unit that is not connected to the grid, which can provide power to a remote user. 

The rollout will replace around 330 kilometres of overhead powerlines.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the SPS rollout will improve land amenity for farmers and reduce bushfire risk.

“Stand-alone power systems are an excellent alternative for regional customers and while they’re part of Western Power’s service area, they operate independently to the main grid,” he said.

“These new contracts will create jobs for Western Australians and support small businesses during the manufacture, installation and commissioning phases.”

Meanwhile, a new biofuel plant is planned for Collie.

Of the $9.4 million, $2 million is being funded by the state government through the Collie Futures Industry Development Fund and $3.9 million by the commonwealth government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The biofuel demonstration plant is being developed by Renergi in partnership with the Shire of Collie.

The project has also attracted a consortium of investors closely linked to Sunshot Energy, co-owned by economist Ross Garnaut and related to ZEN Energy, which is led by Mr Garnaut and WA businessman Norman Pater.

Renegi’s technology is developed at Curtin University’s Fuels and Energy Technology Institute led by Renergi director, professor Chun-Zhu Li.

When completed, the plant is expected to be able to convert 4,000 tonnes of municipal waste and 8,000 tonnes of forestry and agricultural waste into pyrolysis oil, which will be sold as liquid fuel.

Biochar will be produced as a byproduct and can be sold to farmers as a soil conditioner.

The plant will be co-located at the Collie landfill site to enable access to municipal waste and will be operational within two years.

ARENA has previously funded energy from waste projects in Kwinana and East Rockingham.

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said the Renegi project was important in solving some of Australia’s waste disposal problems.

“Renergi’s technology will demonstrate the viability of a scalable distributed energy from waste process, which will use low value waste to displace fossil fuels and thereby helping to reduce emissions,” he said. 

“While other energy from waste projects are focused on incineration at large centralised plants, Renergi’s technology is a potential waste treatment solution for regional and smaller towns.”

The project is expected to create 10 construction jobs and 10 operational jobs. 

Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray and Regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan said that the Collie project would be highly beneficial to the town.   

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