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New phased microgrid approach for industrial-estate development

Peel Renewable Energy is about to energize a 1.2 MW solar farm in Australia, as part of a fresh approach to microgrids. Infrastructure remains small, but the renewables-powered microgrid can grow to meet the needs of incoming businesses.

From pv magazine Australia

Peel Renewable Energy has developed a flexible solar-powered microgrid solution in response to the high cost of delivering power to new industrial estates.

The first stage of the company’s demonstration project is at the Peel Business Park, a 1,000-hectare site in semi-rural Nambeelup, Western Australia. It was energized in August 2020 with a grid connection from the South West Interconnected System (SWIS). Full integration of the microgrid’s 1.2 MW ground-mounted solar generation (installed) and 2.5 MWh battery storage system is expected to be completed in early 2021.

Peel Renewable Energy is a subsidiary of Tas Gas, a Tasmanian gas distributor and energy retailer. It was previously part of the Enwave Australia group, which developed the Tonsley District Energy Scheme in Adelaide, South Australia.

Rob Breden, general manager for Peel Renewable Energy in Western Australia, told pv magazine that the traditional approach to developing industrial estates has been to build multimillion-dollar lead-in grid electricity infrastructure. However, the full capacity might not be utilized for many years, until lots are sold and businesses build their facilities and ramp up operations.

“A microgrid approach allows for a more staged and fit-for-purpose deployment of services infrastructure to match the particular objectives of developers,” says Breden.

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DevelopmentWA, the land development agency of the Western Australian government, wanted to bring a skilled workforce of the area, which has become the gateway to the Peel agricultural region.

“As part of Transform Peel, and as an innovative industry hub in its own right, Peel Business Park will play a crucial role in supporting economic and employment growth and building resilience within the Peel region for generations to come,” said state Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan in December, when she announced the opening of the first 16 hectares of the site.

Stage 1 of the Peel Business Park is expected to generate 250 ongoing jobs and will contribute AUD 73 million (US$56 million) to the local economy, as it becomes home to the Shire of Murray’s Western Australian Food Innovation Precinct, a variety of local businesses, and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ new Bushfire Centre of Excellence which will open on Jan. 25.

For the full story, please visit our pv magazine Australia website.

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Source: pv magazine