Ability for Western Power to deploy stand-alone power systems (SPS) in its distribution licence area

The Electricity Corporations (Electricity Generation and Retail Corporation Area of Operation) Amendment Regulations 2021 (Amendment Regulations) were published in the Government Gazette on 15 January 2021.

The Amendment Regulations enable Western Power to provide SPS as a network replacement service within its distribution licence area, without requiring a physical connection to the South West Interconnected System.

Energy Policy WA has published the stakeholder submissions that were received on the Amendment Regulations.

Overview

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SPS typically comprise solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, battery storage and a back-up generator and are not connected to the network. 

Over the past few years, Western Power has demonstrated that, in the right circumstances, SPS may be more cost effective, safer and reliable than traditional poles and wires as they are less prone to risks such as wind, rain, vegetation, lightning and bushfires. This is particularly relevant in regional and remote locations where costs to supply electricity are generally higher and customers are more likely to experience reduced power reliability. 

To find out more about Western Power's SPS trial and rollout visit Western Power's website: 

SPS trial in the Great Southern

SPS Program Round 1 rollout

Western Power estimates that 6,000 customers are likely to be candidates for an SPS over the next 30 years.   

Regulatory Framework

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While significant opportunities exist for SPS as an alternative to traditional network infrastructure, the regulatory and policy framework was not designed to govern electricity supply to customers through a SPS.  Rather, the framework is based on a traditional industry structure of generators being connected to transmission and distribution networks that transport electricity to homes and businesses.

Recently, several initiatives have been progressed to address the regulatory barriers associated with the widespread deployment of SPS, particularly in the South West Interconnected System. These include:

  • amendments to relevant energy legislation through the Electricity Industry Amendment Act 2020, which received Royal Assent on 6 April 2020; and

  • changes to the Electricity Networks Access Code 2004 to support to Western Power’s use of SPS and allow for the recovery of efficient expenditure associated with this technology through regulated network tariffs.

Energy Policy WA is undertaking further work to ensure the regulatory and policy framework supports the deployment of SPS as a network replacement service.

Stand-alone power systems (SPS) Information Paper and Regulations

For information on the Electricity Corporations (Electricity Generation and Retail Corporation Area of Operation) Amendment Regulations 2021, please see below:

Information Paper: Ability for Western Power to deploy Stand-alone Power Systems (SPS) in its distribution licence area
Electricity Corporations (Electricity and Retail Corporation Area of Operation) Amendment Regulations 2021

Consultation

Stakeholder submissions on the Amendment Regulations are available below:

Page reviewed 2 February 2021