Good neighbours get things done. They act to benefit everyone and are generally good to have around. Their power comes from their influence and commitment to the community.
These powerful neighbours offer similar qualities. They’re just less likely to invite you for a barbeque.
They are neighbourhood batteries. Their influence comes from the critical role they can play as our society shifts to greater renewable energy generation and a clean energy future. Is a community neighbour just a friend you haven’t met?
The Electric Avenue Feasibility Study was led by Powercor and involved CitiPower and United Energy as well as 12 community-based organisations, individuals and councils.
The partners worked together to investigate the various uses for community batteries, the key factors to consider in their location, design and planning, as well as the commercial considerations for not only their costs and potential revenue streams.
For most partners, their interest in neighbourhood batteries is related to community concerns over climate change and their preference was for the batteries to be community-owned. The study therefore prioritised locations where there is a demand related network opportunity, high residential solar penetration, available land and community support.
Importantly, it found neighbourhood batteries are very promising. But they are also very complex projects.
The study also revealed a number of important learnings about how to plan and design battery projects for success. These are detailed more in The Powerful Neighbours Report but in summary are:
It was supported by a grant from the Victorian Government’s Neighbourhood Battery Initiative in 2021 and was completed in June 2022.
The study ultimately identified 30 preferred locations for neighbourhood batteries. This started as a long-list of 84 potential sites that were assessed based on criteria developed in consultation with all partners.
The list includes 17 sites on the Powercor and United Energy networks that best met the criteria for batteries that can provide a network benefit. That is, enabling more rooftop solar connections in the community to export excess power as well as ensuring power is reliable on peak demand days.
A further 13 sites were identified by community partners. These batteries were intended for a variety of uses including support for community infrastructure hubs and energy resilience objectives when associated with solar systems for back-up supplies in an emergency.
We will continue to support our partners in further considering the sites identified as part of planning for either individual battery projects or a portfolio of batteries.
A set of three animated stories were developed as part of the Electric Avenue Feasibility Study and are available to be shared for the information of communities considering neighbourhood battery projects.
This animation tells the story of how batteries blend into the neighbourhood when located on poles or on the ground. It also explains how batteries are charged either from local rooftop solar energy or the power sourced from large scale energy generators including solar and wind farms.
More energy is now available in the middle of the day as more renewables supply power to our homes and businesses. This animation tells this story about the role batteries play in making sure extra energy is stored locally so it can be used later when needed.
This animation explains how batteries are designed under strict regulatory standards to be quiet and safe for people and the environment. It also introduces some of the criteria considered for where they are located like the distance to homes, sight lines for neighbours and site accessibility.
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