This Microgrid Feasibility and Screening Study was awarded $1.08 million from the Federal Government Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund in December 2021 to examine the potential for the electricity distribution network on the Eyre Peninsula to transition to renewable energy microgrids.
The Eyre Peninsula is the westernmost part of the National Electricity Market (NEM) with distributed and small communities in remote townships and isolated properties. These communities play a significant role in Australia’s tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and export sectors, but have been disproportionately impacted by issues of electricity affordability and reliability.
ITP Renewables was commissioned to perform detailed microgrid feasibility studies at three locations in the Eyre Peninsula; Kimba, Koonibba, and Sceale Bay, and to develop a method to screen for the potential of microgrids and individual power systems to reduce costs across the entire Eyre Peninsula distribution network. Kimba and Koonibba were selected by RDAEP as locations of interest based on community motivation. The selection of Sceale Bay as the third location for feasibility study was informed by the distribution network operator, SA Power Networks (SAPN)’s visual assessment of customers at the end of long spur lines, ITP assessment of maintenance costs and SAPN consideration of bushfire risk and corrosion risk.
The current supply to Kimba, Koonibba, and Sceale Bay is via the interconnected grid, and the feasibility studies consider the option of adding microgrid capability to enable occasional islanding of these towns and fulfilment of local electricity demand with local supply. A microgrid would allow portions of the upstream network to be de‑energised on days of extreme or catastrophic bush fire risk, minimise outages caused by upstream faults, and reduce carbon emissions attributable to grid imports. Improved reliability of electricity supply would reduce loss of services, supplies, perishable stock, creating a positive impact on health services, education services, and local businesses.
The microgrid and individual power system (IPS) screening study assesses the cost implications of modifying the existing electricity distribution network with microgrids or individual power system options across the Eyre Peninsula. To achieve this, it is necessary to measure whether the distribution network, a microgrid, or IPS are lower cost for any combination of adjacent customers, at any location within the Eyre Peninsula distribution network. Battery energy storage system (BESS) cost sensitivity analysis also provides insight in to when certain network modifications become feasible if prices change.
These variables create a very large number of possible scenarios to consider, and the results of this study allow these scenarios to be ranked to inform infrastructure planning.
For the full results and analysis, read our Public Report.