Ten schools have been selected to take part in a $4 million innovative Virtual Power Plant (VPP) pilot as part of the Western Australian Government’s WA Recovery Plan project.
As part of the program, schools will receive commercial batteries and solar panels – if they do not already have them – helping to cut school’s electricity bills and assist the state in its transition to a cleaner energy future.
The ten schools will be transformed into smart, green VPPs, with the batteries enabling schools to store their excess energy for later use, which will assist with grid stability.
Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said the school based VPP pilot will not only assist the schools, but also the wider community, transition to a cleaner energy future.
“Western Australian schools will become Virtual Power Plants, highlighting the integration of rooftop solar, batteries and other small-scale technologies into our power grid,” Mr Johnston said.
“The Virtual Power Plants will make the local electricity grid more stable and reliable, and assist in the transition towards a cleaner energy future.”
The other schools that will participate in the VPP pilot project include:
- Baldivis Secondary College
- Rossmoyne Senior High School
- Butler College
- Coastal Lakes College, Lakelands
- Success Primary School
- Gilmore College, Orelia
- Joseph Banks Secondary College, Banksia Grove
- Comet Bay Primary School, Secret Harbour
- Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School
A VPP is a network of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles that are ‘aggregated’ and shared with an energy retailer.
The schools, located in the South West Interconnected System, were determined by Synergy and the Department of Education based on operational, customer, system and technical considerations.
Using VPPs means there is less of a need for traditional generation assets such as coal or gas, which is a step towards a more sustainable power system.
The $4 million investment forms part of the WA Government’s $66.3 million renewable energy technologies package from the WA Recovery Plan, which will boost innovative, clean energy projects throughout Western Australia.
The WA Government said it is focused on enhancing renewable energy technology at more schools across the State.
Education and Training Minister, Sue Ellery, said the program will help educate students at the schools involved, while also helping to create local jobs.
“This pilot program will benefit schools, and at the same time create new jobs and teach new skills to build our future electricity system,” Ms Ellery said.
“It will also provide an opportunity to further Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education for students.”
Joondalup MLA, Emily Hamilton, said the announcement is exciting news for the schools selected, and will provide opportunities for the students to learn more about renewable energy technologies.
“The Virtual Power Plant will be installed by the end of the year and will benefit the entire community with improved power quality,” Ms Hamilton said.