This innovative demand management program all began in 2007 with a major disruption to the electricity supply to Denmark and neighbouring Walpole, with a severe impact on the tourism industry.
The wider community called for Western Power, the state network utility, to substantially upgrade transmission lines. Local environmental groups initiated a different response aimed at reducing energy demand and increasing local renewable energy generation. The Green Town Denmark Walpole project arose from a partnership led by Western Power and the local community and including the relevant Local Governments, Chambers of Commerce, the Denmark Community Windfarm group, environment groups, Great Southern and South West Development Commissions, a local solar business and interested community members.
Over a six year period, this partnership developed a range of initiatives aimed at reducing the peak load and deferring the major line upgrade, reducing overall energy consumption, developing local jobs in the renewable energy production and reducing carbon emissions. The initiatives included:
- Research and Demonstration: Energy appliance inventory, an efficiency program aimed at the largest consumers, research and development on battery storage options and a trial of Energy Monitoring Units.
- Efficiency Improvements: including minor upgrades to lines, smart meters and homes and business audits.
- Education and Awareness: including market stalls, banners on town entries, workshops with rewards and free advice.
- Fuel Switching: including Solar Hot Water subsidies and private installation of PV solar.
The Green Town project was very successful, going beyond the original goals of a 10% reduction in peak demand, to achieve a 14% reduction and overall energy demand reduction. This was achieved for the two communities, Denmark and Walpole that were already energy efficient with an average consumption of 2.8kW per home at the peak.