First community microgrid of its kind in NSW on track to deliver energy independence for residents

In a milestone announcement, two picturesque coastal towns on the NSW South Coast are set to power themselves independently during power outages ensuring the resilience of their communities during storms and bushfires.

Around 100 homes in Bawley Point and Kioloa, 250km south of Sydney, have been equipped with subsidised solar panels or batteries to help create the first community microgrid of its kind in NSW.

The project is on track to be operational by the end of the year, providing a reliable, stand-alone, and renewable electricity supply while reducing the number of power outages.

The $8 million community microgrid includes contributions from the Australian and NSW Government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, Endeavour Energy along with local residents. The community microgrid will act as a self-contained energy system, harnessing electricity from renewable sources like rooftop solar, home-based batteries, and a 3MW grid connected battery, strategically positioned between the two communities. This configuration empowers the microgrid to operate autonomously during outages, forming an island of power for the community.

Guy Chalkley, Endeavour Energy’s Chief Executive Officer, said the microgrid will lead the way in making isolated communities more resilient while laying the foundation for future renewable energy solutions.

He said that 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 of its kind.

“These two towns, like many other rural and regional communities across Australia, are vulnerable to catastrophic weather events. The grid independence provided by this microgrid becomes essential for their survival and safeguarding our regional communities,” he said.

“What makes this microgrid the first of its kind is the customer centric and integrated approach to planning – we can call upon a customer’s energy resources such as rooftop solar and batteries to add resilience to the network and the community’s power supply.

“We have co-designed this innovative solution in partnership with the local community and are pleased that it will serve as a blueprint for other communities, empowering them to embrace renewable energy and attain self-sufficiency during times of crisis.”

Liza Butler, NSW Member for South Coast, commended Endeavour Energy for its extensive collaboration with the local community to establish the microgrid.

“As the Chair of the Community Microgrid committee, I worked alongside Endeavour Energy and the community for over three years to get the microgrid up and running. This project is an example of what we can achieve when we work together. The microgrid linking Bawley Point and Kioloa is the first of its kind in NSW, and I look forward to working with other villages across the South Coast to bring more microgrids online,” she said.

“As a local resident who experienced the last devastating bushfires, I know first-hand the impact of being left without electricity. In the Bawley Point and Kioloa area, being without electricity means that you have no telecommunications, and as we rely solely on tank water, it also means that when you have no power, you have no water.

“This microgrid will be a huge success for the region, providing us with the renewable energy solutions we need to keep our communities resilient.”

Fiona Philips, Federal Member for Gilmore, said the microgrid would not only help support local people with the cost of living, but also provide relief and reassurance during emergency situations.

“We saw during the bushfires that energy reliability was a significant issue. This microgrid will make our communities more resilient, better prepared for future disasters, and will also deliver significant environmental benefits,” she said.

Endeavour Energy, the driving force behind this cutting-edge project, is already exploring additional locations that could benefit from similar microgrid installations.

The Bawley Point and Kioloa community microgrid will launch at the end of the year, marking a significant milestone in Australia's journey towards sustainable and self-sufficient energy solutions.


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0447 810 343

Published on Aug 1st 2023