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Onslow Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Project

The Onslow DER Project connects traditional energy sources with distributed solar and battery solutions, to maximise the amount of renewable energy in Onslow.

Onslow is set to be the home of Australia's largest distributed energy resource (DER) microgrid, with a high penetration of the town's electricity needs serviced from renewable energy sources. The microgrid includes a mix of distributed renewables, modular gas powered generation and battery storage aimed at achieving a high level of renewable energy throughout the town. 

About the project

Stage One
Stage One was completed in July 2018, servicing the immediate electricity needs of the Onslow community. It included the construction of: 

  • A gas-fired modular power station that is designed to be able to efficiently contract in size as the renewable energy contribution increases, or expand to meet future growth requirements
  • A new transmission line, zone substation and distribution network extension.

Stage Two
Stage Two included additional centralised infrastructure construction combined with distributed solar PV and batteries:

  • A solar farm adjacent the new power station 
  • A battery energy storage system at the zone substation
  • Distributed solar PV systems across the system
  • Distributed batteries across the system.​

Solar Farm and Battery Energy Storage system (BESS)
The 1 MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) located at the zone substation was energised onto the Onslow network in May 2019. The Solar Farm located adjacent to the power station was energised in June 2019.

Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot
The Pilot involved Horizon Power selling generously incentivised solar PV panels and batteries to residential and small business customers in Onslow, to achieve the fast take-up of solar and battery needed to test the management of renewable energy in an isolated regional community. We partnered with Western Australian company, Mechanical Project Services to deliver and install up to 2 MW solar PV and up to 1 MW hour of small scale battery storage.  

This high and rapid uptake of renewables by the Onslow community was essential in enabling Horizon Power to effectively pilot an intelligent control system known as a Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS).  This system will allow us to manage the assets connected to our networks in a coordinated way.  

Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS)
Horizon Power executed a contract with US supplier PXiSE Energy Solutions, LLC to provide the software for a Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) for a platform to support Horizon Power's strategy and vision to support greater renewable and distributed energy resources in regional Western Australia in the future. 

The DERMS will help address safety, reliability and operational challenges, resulting from increased DER on Horizon Power's network. The solution will provide Horizon Power the platform for increased renewable energy capacity whilst maintaining network stability and integrity. It will be utilised to manage distributed energy resources including solar, wind, energy storage, combined heat and power, smart appliances, conventional generation as a coordinated system. 

What's next?

Onslow’s world first with 100% hydrocarbon free
In a world first, Horizon Power demonstrated that it's possible to run an energy network on 100 per cent, hydrocarbon free energy without any traditional backup generation. In a successful trial in May this year, the Onslow microgrid was run entirely on clean, green solar and battery power for 80 minutes.

Through the trial, the town’s electricity needs were serviced by around 600 kilowatts of utility solar and 700 kilowatts of customer generated solar supported by battery technology (Distributed Energy Resources). This is a very exciting step towards enabling Horizon Power to understand the impacts of renewables on our networks, and has been quoted as being a ‘ground-breaking’ trial to blueprint energy systems around Australia.

Further testing continues

Our Distributed Energy Resources Management System (DERMS) has the ability to send commands to customer batteries and for them to react accordingly. This is the functionality we are now seeking to test - to try and optimise the performance of customer batteries - by issuing instructions for them to charge and discharge at the most appropriate times of day. Community battery testing is planned between the 14 October - 12 November 2021, and we will continue to keep the community informed as we progress.  


Key dates



May 2021

The Onslow microgrid was run entirely on clean, green solar and battery power for 80 minutes in a successful trial.

December 2019

Onslow ​Renewable Energy Pilot ends.

​September 2019

​Onslow Renewable Energy Pilot​
​Horizon Power solar PV and battery installation at Zone Substation.​

September 2019

Completion of solar farm and battery reliability period.

​May 2019

​Construction of a centralised 1 megawatt solar farm and 1 megawatt-hour network battery complete.

March 2019

Renewable Energy Pilot launches to Onslow customers.

March 2019

Stage Two launch


Construction to begin on renewable energy component including solar farm and battery storage.

​July 2018

Stage One complete

July 2018

Power station commissioned.

​June 2018

Solar farm contract awarded

September 2017

Equipment including transmission lines arrive on site.

​April 2017

​Ground clearing and relocation of fauna.

March 2017

​Work begins on backbone power infrastructure.

January 2017

New power station contract awarded

January 2017

Contract for construction of modular power station awarded to Downer EDI Engineering and Power Pty Ltd.​

September 2016

Onslow Power Project announcement