Here’s an opportunity to (almost) disconnect part of the City from the power grid, burn less coal and save money! Opportunities like this are not common and this one is fairly easy to imagine.
We are proposing to rezone a mixed- use area of 1950s single-story houses, currently used for consulting rooms of various sorts, and some small blocks of flats. The patch is opposite the Perth Zoo, between Richardson Park cricket ground and the Mill Point freeway off- ramp. Proposed new zoning is to allow taller buildings with the first three storeys extending out to the boundaries of blocks over 1000 square metres and to then extend upward to 25 or 41 metres with thinner set-back spires. This will allow air and light between buildings without an imposing visual effect.
Now for the action! We could use an energy configuration known as “Tri-Generation”. This would involve a gas-fired local generator, supplying electricity to all properties within the precinct. Such local generation would avoid the very significant financial and environmental costs of burning inefficient coal at Collie. We’d also avoid transmission losses, estimated at about 6% of total cost. The generator would operate from a building the size of a small house. That’s the first big win.
Now, the waste heat from this generator could heat water, to be piped around the precinct, warming offices in winter and powering air- conditioners in summer. I have seen and read of this operating in many places already, such as Woking, UK and Tromso, Sweden. Sydney is rethinking its CBD energy system this way, with inspiration from Alan Jones. There’s another big win here- no heating and cooling costs, a big number.
Part 3 would be to require all new developments to install rooftop solar PhotoVoltaic panels and wind micro- turbines, but not to install inverters (a major part of the costs for standard PV systems.) These panels would be required to connect directly to a neighbourhood Direct Current network, connected to a control system and inverter at the power building. There the DC current would be switched to AC and supplied to the same local grid as used by the gas generator. The area is swept daily by winds across Melville Water. Protection will be needed for migratory birds.
For security of supply the precinct would maintain connection to the Synergy grid, and contracted with the best bid from a commercial supplier, of which there are several. As the generator would work at optimum revolutions, excess power could be routed to the grid at an agreed feed-in tariff rate.
Binding this technical system together would be a financial structure based on a public-private partnership and energy supply contracts similar to strata title. Projected cost savings are expected to be above twenty per cent. Environmental benefits are significant.
This is going to take a bit of new thinking, something that we are good at in WA. Please let’s read your comments. Click below and log in as Name or Anonymous or send me an email and I’ll publish for you.