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WA’s biggest pig farm about to go 100 per cent renewable energy

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One Step Off The Grid

Part of stage 1 solar at Westport. Photo Supplied.

Westpork, WA’s largest pork producer, is about to add wind power and battery storage to its existing solar arrays as part of a plan to go 100 per cent renewable energy and slash their cost of production.

In yet another example of large energy users turning to wind, solar and storage to offset the soaring cost of (fossil-fuel dominated) grid power, Westpork is going to add 1.8MW of wind and some battery storage to the 360kW of roof and ground mounted solar it has already installed.

The project is being led by Advanced Energy Resources, which recently announced a 3MW wind and solar project, boosted by battery storage, to lower costs and boost energy security at the GMA Garnet mine north of Perth. That facility may look to 100 per cent renewables down the track.

Westpork has already installed substantial solar systems at its Serpentine, Mindarra and Gingin pig farms that will account of 20 per cent of its electricity needs under a long term power purchase agreement supplied by AER.

That array is already saving 15 per cent on its current electricity costs, prompting the decision to add a further 1.5MW of wind power, using Enercon turbines, and possibly battery storage.

Westpork and AER are also looking to power a proposed new piggery at Moora with a mix of  solar, wind and biogas generation sources which will supply up to 100 per cent renewable energy to the site.

“We were keen to make renewable energy a major contributor to our electricity requirements,” Westpork’s CEO Neil Ferguson said in a statement, adding that the company would benefit from “cheaper, greener electricity and long term security” around its energy costs.

AER’s MD Luca Castello said it was a clear demonstration of the long term merits of what can be achieved by willing commercial and industrial electricity consumers, and the “long term merits of renewable energy in providing clean, low cost renewable energy to large electricity consumers.

“With WA’s world class renewable energy resources we see an immense opportunity for these types of projects in WA.

“We have an expanding pipeline with current commitments for 20MW of wind and solar projects which will be built for both our own requirements and under direct supply arrangements with key West Australian energy consumers.”

Advanced Energy Resources’ other projects include the 2.4MW Mt Barker Wind Farm and over 1MW of solar PV embedded generation.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.  

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  • George Darroch

    Industrial pig farming is cruel and barbaric (yes, I’ve been inside pig sheds) but at least their energy will be cleaner.

    I see this as just another sign that Australia’s businesses are heading rapidly towards control of their own energy through rooftop solar, storage, and efficiency.

  • Joe

    …oink, oink, oink.

  • Ian

    The picture in the article shows acres of roof space, they could cover these with solar arrays , sell the electricity, and get rid of the pigs!