Development Approval For WA Solar + Wind + Battery Project

Solar + Wind + Battery Facility for Yallabatharra

Image via Northampton Shire Council

Advanced Energy Resources’ proposed Yallabatharra solar and wind project, which will include battery storage, has received development approval from Western Australia’s Northampton Shire Council.

According to documents from Council, the project will consist of up to 5 wind turbines with a collective output capacity of approximately 2.5MW, and up to 3,500 solar panels representing 1MW of capacity. Four 20-foot shipping containers will house battery storage (capacity not specified) and power conversion equipment.

The proposed facility, which will be the first grid connected wind and solar farm with battery storage in Western Australia, will connect to Western Power’s electricity network via a 3.5km overhead power line. Underground cabling will be used to connect the wind turbines and solar farm to the overhead power line.

Some of the electricity generated by the facility will be used to support  GMA Garnet‘s Port Gregory operations, which operates in a fringe-of-grid area.

In October last year, GMA Garnet announced it had signed a long term Power Purchase Agreement with Advanced Energy Resources for output from the plant, which will supply nearly 70 per cent of the mine’s electricity requirements.

The project site is currently used for agricultural purposes, but given the relatively small size it “would not require loss of undue land area from agricultural production” according to Council’s December meeting agenda.

The West Australian reports approval wasn’t a slam-dunk, but after some debate the motion for development approval was carried 6 – 1. It appears a concern for some councillors was aesthetics in relation to the wind turbines, but Council notes there were no submissions objecting to the proposed development on the basis of visual impact or any other aspect.

Yallabatharra is located approximately 500 kilometres north of Perth.

This won’t be the first wind project for the Northampton Shire Council region. Kalbarri Wind Farm, consisting of two 800kW wind turbines, has been operating since 2007/2008.

Also in the works for the region is the Kalbarri microgrid, which will feature at least 2MWh of battery storage. According to Western Power:

“At 5MW, it will be one of Australia’s largest microgrids to run in complete renewable mode, which means it can draw energy solely from the connected wind farm and feed-in from residential rooftop solar panels.”

Western Power says it expects to appoint a technical partner for the Kalbarri microgrid project “at the start of 2018”, so an announcement shouldn’t be far off.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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