Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Horizon Power on its innovative deployment of standalone power systems to households in the bush-fire affected town of Esperance, located on Western Australia’s southeast coast.
The systems will allow households to live “off-grid”, relying on electricity generated by solar panels and stored in lithium-ion batteries. The systems are backed up by diesel generators to cater for extended periods of low sunlight.
Herbert Smith Freehills advised on all legal aspects of the project which is the first of its kind for Horizon Power and will mean Horizon Power will generate and sell electricity from the standalone power systems located on each of the premises to the affected households, rather than via conventional generation and poles and wires.
The Herbert Smith Freehills team was led by partner Dan Zador, who was supported by senior associate Ana Parkinson and solicitor Maja La Rosa.
Mr Zador said: “The use of standalone power systems to retail electricity, particularly in the western world, is highly innovative. Over time, such technologies have the potential to displace - at least in part - the traditional electricity supply model.
“How quickly this occurs depends on the cost of such disruptive technologies, as well as the legislative and policy settings of government.”
Mr Zador said in Western Australia, the current legislative and regulatory framework was premised on a traditional supply model.
“Horizon Power has been able to deploy this innovative electricity generation system despite dealing with a regulatory framework established well before standalone power systems or other disruptive and innovative technologies were a reality.
“Horizon Power should be commended for their enthusiasm and determination in championing this off-grid supply approach that will benefit bushfire affected customers and, indirectly, all West Australian power consumers.”