The Sands – an Active Energy Precinct

What is a community battery?

  • A community battery is typically the size of a 4WD vehicle and provides around 500kWH of storage that can support up to 250 local households.
  • Solar households will feed into the battery during the day and draw from the stored energy at night.
  • Any excess electricity stored in a community battery above local community needs can be sold into the grid when needed most – in the early evenings – putting further downward pressure on electricity bills.
  • While models will be tailored to local needs, community batteries will be funded by the Commonwealth, installed by licensed electricians, and operated by network operators.
  • Once a battery is installed in a community, providers will invite local households to participate – just like they offer solar and battery schemes now.
  • It just makes good sense to share a single community battery among up to 250 households instead of expecting every home to pay for the purchase, installation and maintenance of their battery.

Community battery benefits

  • Solar households without batteries have to rely on the electricity grid when the sun isn’t shining. Increasing battery storage will:
    • Cut power bills for households – by taking advantage of inexpensive solar energy that can be stored and used at peak times;
    • Cut emissions – by increasing the total use of renewable energy; and
    • Reduce pressure on the grid – by reducing community reliance on the grid at peak times when the sun isn’t shining.
  • The Australian Energy Market Commission recently flagged a rule change that would charge solar households for feeding energy into the grid.
  • This proposed rule change highlights the community-wide need for household solar to be supported by battery storage.
  • Community batteries offer more significant economies of scale than household batteries, with lower capital, installation and maintenance costs.
  • Community batteries also store and distribute electricity more efficiently by allowing the sharing of excess solar power (for example, when families are on holidays or with households unable to install solar).
  • Community batteries are being rolled out in various locations around Australia. Labor’s support will accelerate the rollout to benefit households and the environment.
  • While grid-scale batteries will play a critical role in our energy future, they don’t allow individual households to directly store and draw from their solar power.

Independent of the community battery commitment and independent of any political affiliation, The Sands Resort has agreed with Monash University to further the area as an Active Energy Precinct.  

The  Active Energy Precinct project deliverables include the following:

  • A feasibility study is detailing the benefits of being part of an aggregated (microgrid) solution for each of the various users in the community.
  • Address participants’ priorities around achieving Net Zero, Resilience and Cost Reduction through microgrid solutions.
  • An investment pathway to allow implementation of proposed solutions, leveraging opportunities such as ARENA’s $50M Regional Australia Microgrid Pilots Program (RAMPP)

The Monash team deploys up to 6 batteries and monitoring equipment to act as hubs in feasibility studies as part of this process. In addition, the systems will test and capture data for the feasibility study. Support is sought from The Sands Community to provide NMI data to assess energy consumption from each household and production from Solar Panels.

How to be a part of a more renewable energy grid in The Sands

Are you interested in being part of a more resilient and renewable local energy grid so that solar energy can be captured and shared across Torquay?

Monash University in partnership with Birdwood Energy and the Surf Coast Shire Council are exploring microgrid solutions in Torquay.

Take our short survey to help us better understand local interest and needs – and go into the draw to win a local hamper worth $100.

Click here to view the fact sheet and complete the survey now.

For more information email the Monash University project team or call Karen Weaver on 0413 969 786.

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