Shifting the balance of power in Busselton27 May 2020
When resources and structures company ATCO decided to extend their natural gas pipeline and open a depot in Busselton, Western Australia, they were surprised by how quickly local businesses wanted to get onboard.
Mick Sheaf, the depot’s supervisor, explains, “when we moved in here to Burler Drive, we noticed down the road that a sizable brewery was looking like they were getting ready to go with LPG gas, and our gas main was still three kilometres away.
“We didn't think we had the time, but we approached them anyway and got our business development team involved. We actually managed to get them onto natural gas, saving them 42 per cent on their costs for energy, and of course it got the gas extended three kilometres.”
Helping Cheeky Monkey Brewery source reliable energy was just the beginning of a successful ATCO operation in Busselton, which is now set to expand even further to Dunsborough, a further 30 mins down the south west coast of WA.
“We've engaged with all the holiday resorts, wineries, retirement villages between the end of our network in Abbey and central Dunsborough. So, our business development team's working hard to get that off the ground and see if we can make that work. We'd love to expand down to Dunsborough,” Mick said.
Along with the provision of natural gas to the region, ATCO’s Busselton footprint creates work for local employees and contractors.
Dave Crisp, the regional customer service and maintenance technician for ATCO explains how they engaged “a local contractor to complete the build, of course with all local resources and contractors for that.
“All our day-to-day maintenance requirements for the depot is all local maintenance supply chains through the trade links and the M&M Electricals, and various other bits and pieces we need from time to time.”
The connection between big and small business generates activity of around $500 billion a year. When business thrives, whole communities thrive.
ATCO’s renewable energy innovation in Australia began right here in Busselton, with the successful GasSola trial involving providing solar panels, batteries and gas powered generators to support nine households at the edge of the grid, who had previously experienced regular blackouts.
Learnings from the GasSola trial were extrapolated out to form the basis of ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub in Jandakot, where solar power is used to generate hydrogen from water.
Innovative solutions to energy supply and structures creation are hallmarks of ATCO’s success, with a long and proud history in Australia.
Earlier this year, ATCO donated $1million to BizRebuild, the Business Council’s bushfire response effort, as well as delivering a demountable pop-up mall to the town of Mogo, who lost 25 per cent of their businesses in the fires.
“ATCO should be proud of the incredible difference they have helped make for the community of Mogo,” said Jennifer Westacott, Business Council chief executive.
Of its 760,000 customers around WA, ATCO has 8,500 customers in the Busselton region, and continues to help both domestic and commercial customers convert to natural gas, saving them money and reducing their environmental impact.
“We don't miss an opportunity to speak to a customer about what we can do for them,” said Mick.