Western Power cable, pole replacement trial success.

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Trials to replace time-worn power cables and ageing electricity poles in regional WA have received positive feedback from the community.

The standalone power system trial uses solar power and battery storage, which has been shown to be more reliable and cost-effective than the current electricity network in regional WA towns.

Western Power initiated the trial in the Great Southern region and implemented the new system at six rural farms around West River, Lake King and Ongerup in 2016.

Western Power executive officer Guy Chalkley said he had identified 3000 families and business that could benefit from the new off-grid technology.

“Early modelling shows that SPS could reduce network cost by more than $300 million, with the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars as solar and batteries costs come down,” Mr Chalkley said.

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But because of State regulation, which allows Western Power to distribute energy from electricity poles and wires and prohibits generating power from it, the new off-grid system is not yet available to rural communities.

Western Power will extend the SPS trial for three more years to provide further evidence to the State Government.

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