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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4078

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (09:44): I rise today with the exciting story of an innovative power electronics engineering enterprise, Magellan Powertronics, operating in the burgeoning commercial-industrial district of Bibra Lake, one of the fastest growing in the nation, right in the heart of the Fremantle electorate.

Since 1992 Magellan Powertronics has been supplying power electronic systems. An ac-dc converter is the most typical such device and related equipment to support many sectors, among them defence, power generation, mining, renewable energy, oil and gas, petrochemical, health, transport and marine. It has won contracts for some of Australia's largest development projects such as FMG's Cloudbreak and BHP's Hay Point expansion in Queensland.

In 2011, Magellan placed within the final four companies in the WA state government's Innovator of the Year Awards and within the top 15 for WA in the federal government's Ethnic Business Awards. Established and owned by Mr Masoud Abshar, this small Australian company is planting its own seeds and tending them through every phase from research, development and design to commercial manufacture, supply and service. All of this work takes place at the company's two Bibra Lake locations where 55 talented people, many of them local graduates, are employed. Magellan's intent is to grow and encourage Australian talent. Key to that aim is keeping the design and manufacture of its products in Western Australia and winning local tenders ahead of overseas imports.

The Australian government, through its Commercialisation Australia Program, is supporting the development of Magellan's latest innovation, a grid power support system, or GPSS, with this $248,000 proof-of-concept government investment. Magellan's team is perfecting the GPSS by making it lighter and more compact, a critical evolution for commercialisation.

Magellan's GPSS will regulate and improve the power quality for homes and businesses in rural areas served by the single wire earth return or SWER networks installed to electrify rural Australia in the 1940s. SWER have worked well, but with increasing demand has come an overall decrease in power reliability, especially during heavy load periods. When fully commercialised, GPSS stand-alone equipment will provide energy suppliers with a highly cost-effective alternative to upgrading the SWER network and will increase overall power capacity by making use of renewable energy to support rural and remote communities.

Another application of the GPSS is to stabilise the grid system, which becomes increasingly unstable as more solar power is injected into it, by levelling demand and supply. This equipment levels out the power demand on the grid by extracting the solar component on the grid and saving it in batteries at peak solar availability. It then releases the power in accordance with consumer demand.

Commercialisation Australia is a fantastic initiative. It is assisting more than 110 Australian companies, universities and other organisations. It is a competitive merit based assistance program of the Australian government offering funding and resources to accelerate the business-building process for Australian companies, entrepreneurs, researchers and inventors like Masoud Abshar and his team at Magellan Powertronics. (Time expired)