First community microgrid in NSW to drive energy independence ‘goes live’
NSW Minister for Climate Change and Energy, The Hon. Penny Sharpe MLC, joined representatives from the Federal Government, Shoalhaven City Council and local community as Endeavour Energy today flicked the switch on the state’s first community microgrid on the NSW South Coast.
The $8 million microgrid at Bawley Point and Kioloa, the first of its kind in the state, will ensure these communities have a more reliable, resilient and renewable power supply while reducing the number of power outages.
The project was funded by Endeavour Energy and the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) Fund, part of the $4.5 billion bushfire support program co-funded by the Federal and NSW Governments’.
Guy Chalkley, Endeavour Energy’s Chief Executive Officer, said the microgrid would allow the coastal communities to power themselves independently during bushfires, storms and peak holiday periods.
“Today is an important milestone as we acknowledge the critical role that renewable energy will play in empowering communities to become more resilient in the face of increasing adverse weather events,” he said.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last two years designing this microgrid alongside local residents and businesses.
“This is a first for NSW, and once proven successful, will become a benchmark for similar towns right across the state.”
NSW Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Hon. Penny Sharpe MLC, commended Endeavour Energy for taking the lead in delivering the renewable energy roadmap and deploying the first community microgrid of its kind in NSW.
“The rollout of renewable energy initiatives, such as the Bawley Point and Kioloa microgrid, is a priority for NSW as we transition the state’s electricity system to a more renewable and resilient future,” she said.
“The NSW Government is committed to fast-tracking initiatives such as the Bawley Point and Kioloa community microgrid for the benefit of all homes, businesses, and communities throughout the state.
“I want to thank the Australian Government for its funding contribution to this and other projects that are building our resilience to future bushfires.”
The community microgrid will act as a self-contained energy system harnessing electricity from renewable sources that include around 100 subsidised home-based batteries and rooftop solar along with a 3MW grid-connected battery located between the two towns.
During an outage, the microgrid will be activated, drawing electricity stored in household batteries to keep the lights on across the communities while power is restored.
Mr Chalkley said the strategic location of Bawley Point and Kioloa situated on the edge of the Endeavour Energy network and prone to adverse weather events, made it the ideal candidate for the state’s first community microgrid.
“These two towns, like many other rural and regional communities across Australia are vulnerable to catastrophic weather events. The grid independence provided by this community microgrid becomes essential for safeguarding our regional communities. The community microgrid will mean that shops such as the local supermarket can stay open and life can continue rather than coming to a halt every time there’s an outage,” he said.
NSW Member for South Coast, Liza Butler MP, said the community microgrid would significantly improve the lives of residents who endure frequent power outages due to weather events and being on the edge of the electricity network.
“As a resident of Bawley Point I lived through the 2019/2020 bushfires and know first-hand what it’s like to be without power for days. When the power goes out, we can’t carry out the basics such as boil water, flush the toilet, and in times of emergency, we also lose telecommunications and our water source,” she said.
“I’m proud this region is paving the way for the rest of the NSW and Australia to help communities become more resilient and better prepared for future disasters while delivering significant environmental benefits.”
Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP, said the Federal Government was supporting critical local projects such as the microgrid to boost resilience for South Coast communities, while also providing environmental and cost-of-living benefits.
“Since the devastating impact of the 2019/20 bushfires, I know that resilience in the face of natural disasters has been front of mind for local people, particularly when it comes to electricity. Having reliable power sources, which give us reliable telecommunication sources, is crucial,” she said.
“I want to congratulate the Bawley Point and Kioloa communities for their steadfast work since the bushfires to get this project off the ground, it’s fantastic to see community projects from the ground up being given the support they need from government and private enterprise such as Endeavour Energy.
"All across the South Coast, and indeed more broadly across Australia, this community is being seen as a leader of the pack, and a prime example of what so many other areas want to achieve, and that is just fantastic.”
Endeavour Energy is exploring other locations that can benefit from similar microgrid installations.
For media enquiries, to arrange an interview, photos or video footage please contact:
Anita Catalano 0447 810 343 Anita.Catalano@endeavourenergy.com.au
Peter Payne 0409 664 608 Peter.Payne@endeavourenergy.com.au
About Endeavour Energy:
- Endeavour Energy is one of Australia’s most efficient networks, powering NSW’s fastest growing economies and sustaining the jobs and lifestyles of 2.7 million Australians.
- Customer base spans over 25,000 square kilometres and is made up of 430,000 power poles and street light columns, 202 major substations and 32,600 distribution substations.
- Integrates with renewable energy sources including 250,000 residential solar connections, industrial solar and embedded large-scale batteries.
Published on Dec 8th 2023