Privately funded power scheme sparks interest

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Emma Morgan and the Dunsborough Community Community Energy Project will harness energy of the sun for WA's first virtual power plant.
Camera IconEmma Morgan and the Dunsborough Community Community Energy Project will harness energy of the sun for WA's first virtual power plant. Credit: Taelor Pelusey

WA’s first virtual power plant is hurtling towards reality, with the not-for-profit organisation spearheading the project already hitting half the number of participants needed to get the ball rolling.

Last month the Times reported Swiss sustainable investor SUSI would fund the installation of 1000 solar and battery systems in participants’ homes, to then be leased back from the Dunsborough Community Energy Project for a flat free.

The project needs 100 sign-ups to begin, and once the initial $12.5 million investment is paid back, profits will go back into a community fund.

It is the first privately funded plant of its kind in Australia and its supporters are touting it as a way of making sustainable energy consumption attainable for everyone — even renters.

Two information sessions were held during the week, and DCEP’s Emma Morgan said it was already at the halfway point.

“We had 50 people keen to be part of the first 100,” she said.

“We also have the same amount of people who want follow-up calls and emails and may turn into sign-ups, so it was a fantastic result.”

Ms Morgan said everyone who signalled interest would be responded to as soon as possible, and further information sessions were on the cards.

DCEP will soon meet with Western Power to see if a deal can be struck that will have the project supporting the grid at peak times.

The group will also present to the City of Busselton on October 17, and a climate change forum in Busselton on November 10.

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