Strap yourself in: Solar Power and batteries made a whole town 100% renewable (for 80 minutes).
It’s an Australian first! Put out a press release. No seriously, they did:
Western Australia has again demonstrated its remote renewable energy generation chops, after successfully powering the Pilbara town of Onslow entirely on a combination of large and small-scale solar and battery storage for a total of 80 minutes.
Only 520,000 minutes short of a whole year.
“The milestone achievement was announced by WA energy minister Bill Johnston on Friday morning after being demonstrated by state government-owned regional utility Horizon Power, which established the solar and storage microgrid next to an existing gas plant.”
Onslow is a metropolis of 847 people sited in one of the sunniest zones in one of the sunniest countries in the world. With at least 3650 hours of sun a year, Onslow vies for a top ten position globally.
If solar power was going to make it anywhere, this would be it. But we all know what keeps the lights on in Onslow and it isn’t solar power.
The renewable microgrid is made up of 700kW of customer generated solar, a 600kW solar array, and a 1MW (no MWh stated) Battery Energy Storage System.
Plus a gas plant…
Ironically, Onslow is right on the edge of the North West Shelf gas field, a vast store of fossil fuels. The town is 1,000 kilometers away from the nearest low cost network, and relies on expensive small generators, but the government still had to “incentivize” home owners to put solar power on their homes.
Bureau of Meteorology,
June 19, 2021