First community microgrid for NSW
First community microgrid in NSW
We are committed to playing an active role in building resilient and renewable communities.
We’ve launched the first community microgrid of its kind in NSW on the state’s South Coast as part of a $10 million initiative to ensure these regional communities can rely on a more reliable and renewable power supply while reducing the number of outages.
The community microgrid, funded with contributions from the Australian and NSW Governments’ Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, will act as a self-contained energy system harnessing electricity from renewable sources that include around 100 subsidised home-based batteries, rooftop solar and a 3-megawatt battery located between the two towns.
The microgrid will draw on the electricity stored in the batteries to allow the communities to power themselves independently during outages caused by bushfires, stores and peak holiday periods.
Frequently asked questions
Why did Endeavour Energy decide to build a microgrid on the NSW South Coast?
With large holiday crowds driving peak periods, being at the end of the network and an increase in adverse weather events, an upgrade to the network was needed in the NSW South Coast communities of Bawley Point and Kioloa to provide a more resilient power supply.
A microgrid provides more benefits than what a typical network upgrade project could provide, particularly as these communities are less dependent on the overhead lines that run through bushland. While this is the first microgrid of its kind in NSW, microgrids and battery storage are well-proven concepts to improve resilience, but they also facilitate more solar and renewable energy onto the grid.
A key part of building the electricity network of the future, Endeavour Energy is providing opportunities such as the Bawley Point and Kioloa microgrid to increase the use of customer-owned resources that allow them to generate, store and share energy in a two-way flow.
What is the Bawley Point and Kioloa microgrid?
The last few years have been challenging for many regional and rural communities around NSW. Bushfires and storms along with peak holiday periods have put the local electricity network under pressure resulting in power outages.
The people of Bawley Point and Kioloa have experienced an additional challenge. These coastal communities are at the southern end of the Endeavour Energy network which has resulted in more frequent outages.
To help reduce the number of outages and provide a more reliable, resilient and renewable electricity supply we’ve co-designed a microgrid with the local community.
How will the microgrid work?
A microgrid is a small, local network of electricity users with a local source of power made up of solar, batteries and smart digital meters to create a virtual power plant (VPP).
The Bawley Point and Kioloa microgrid is made up of 100 subsidised home-based batteries and rooftop solar systems, along with a 3 mega-watt grid-connected battery that will generate a reliable and renewable power supply to the region.
The microgrid is connected to Endeavour Energy’s network but will switch to its local ‘power island’ if the main electricity grid goes down. This gives Bawley Point and Kioloa communities added security for their power supply.
This microgrid is the first of its kind. What does that mean?
We believe this is the first microgrid in NSW that includes a combination of investment by local residents and subsidised solar and battery systems, funded by Endeavour Energy with financial support from the Australian and NSW Governments. These solar and battery systems will work together to provide a reliable and renewable source of power during outages.
Why Bawley Point and Kioloa?
Endeavour Energy has been exploring ways to meet electricity demand in a more resilient, reliable and sustainable way for this region.
- The area is uniquely positioned to receive maximum benefit from this type of initiative because:
- The community is at the end of a long electricity line.
- The population can spike during the holiday season which places significant strain on the electricity network.
Rather than continuing to build new substations and additional poles and wires, we have been investigating ways to build a more resilient and reliable regional energy zone for the community.
Will it mean cheaper power bills?
Households who are part of the program will be able to generate solar power and store it for later use. This will help keep electricity bills low while keeping electricity more reliable for the entire community. But while this is a benefit, the objective of the microgrid is to deliver a more reliable source of power for the entire community. Customers who are part of the program have already received a heavily subsidised battery or solar.
This program presents a great opportunity for the Bawley Point and Kioloa communities to demonstrate how microgrids work and how solar and batteries can be best used in the future.
How much did customers have to pay to be part of the program?
We believe this was one of the most generous subsidised programs with customers paying 40 per cent of a battery or solar system and Endeavour Energy, along with the grant from the Australian and NSW Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, paying the remainder.
To assist in managing the energy through the microgrid, state-of-the-art software will forecast the renewable energy load and consumption patterns to help manager power when the microgrid is operating.
Microgrids exist all around the world. They are not a new technology, but as locally generated renewable power has increased, these mini-grids are becoming a viable way for modern grids to better harness power.
What are the benefits of participating in the program?
Households who participate in the program can generate solar power for their own immediate use, store it for later use and sell any excess back into the grid when the electricity network needs it. This will help keep electricity bills low, while keeping electricity more reliable for the entire community.
Will the microgrid benefit just those with solar and battery or the entire community?
All the community will benefit from the microgrid, not just those with solar and battery systems.
In the event of an outage how long will the grid be able to operate independently?
This will depend on several factors such as the time of day or peak holiday periods when there is a bigger demand for electricity. We estimate the grid will be able to operate independently for several hours during an outage. Households can also play their part in assisting the microgrid by reducing household power usage at these times by turning off non-essential household appliances.