Enova Community Energy today announced it will build a microgrid in the Byron Bay Arts & Industry Estate as a pilot project to encourage locally generated, stored and distributed power.
The grid is expected to involve 20 -30 participants and will take place over approximately two years.
When finalised in October 2020 Enova hopes it will lead to the formation of a wider, self-sufficient microgrid for the entire estate.
‘Community microgrids such as this are the way of the future,’ Enova Energy MD Tony Pfeiffer said.
‘The Byron Arts & Industry Estate Microgrid is the first of what we hope will be many self-sufficient electricity microgrids Enova helps to roll out.
‘We aim to develop a model that can be replicated by communities across NSW and ultimately Australia – starting with industrial estates and similar commercial areas, and eventually residential areas.’
Flying in for the announcement at Enova’s Centennial Circuit offices, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said said the government was supportive of the communities who wished to build their own local clean energy projects, and announced $85 million worth of funding for regional energy projects.
A further $55 million would help the private sector develop and accelerate clean energy technology for regional communities, such as pumped hydro.
‘Tackling high energy costs is a top priority for our government and this significant investment puts further downward pressure on energy bills for homes in regional NSW,’ she said.
Essential Energy CEO John Cleland said the government was ‘lowering barriers for investment for the emerging energy projects of tomorrow’.
Participants in the pilot will have individual devices installed to measure power inputs and outputs. The resulting data will help work out a new pricing structure based on sharing locally-generated power.
Mr Pfeiffer said one of the aims of the pilot was ‘to work out just how much cheaper it is to use local renewable power sources rather than bringing electricity from afar’.
‘Eventually, the microgrid is likely to enjoy its own unique tariff structure, where new prices are set to be more attractive than current energy pricing.’
- An earlier version of this story originally said the project was funded by the NSW Government’s regional energy projects fund, which is it not. It also erroneously identified Essential Energy CEO John Cleland as NSW energy minister Don Harwin.