Share your feedback!

Help us improve by completing a quick survey

Let's do this

Regional microgrids

Understanding regional community needs is a key element in setting up a community microgrid


What is a microgrid?

Microgrids are an independent power network that uses local, distributed energy resources to provide grid backup or off-grid power to meet local electricity needs.

The system must generate electricity via one, or a combination of, fossil fuels and renewable resources (e.g. wind, solar, hydro). It must have a distribution method to get power to where it is needed and a method of dealing with excess energy produced (e.g. battery storage) or a way to provide that energy back to the grid. It must also have consumers for its electricity.

Community needs

Understanding local community needs such as reliability, cost and self-sufficiency is a key element in setting up a community microgrid.

Powercor has been working with the Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4NET) to undertake a feasibility study of converting part of a grid to microgrid configuration for the communities in the Loddon-Mallee area, Donald and Tarnagulla.

Solutions to problems

Understanding local community needs such as reliability, cost and self-sufficiency are key elements in setting up a community microgrid. This project seeks to engage the two contrasting communities to listen and understand their needs in relation to their future electricity supply with respect to their social and cultural values.

Rural and regional communities tend to be at the end of the grid or have long distribution lines, leading to quality deterioration of the electricity supply. These communities and their businesses are seeking a balance of reliable, sustainable and low-cost electricity tailored to their needs.

Microgrids are becoming increasingly commercially feasible in Australia under certain circumstances, in part driven by technical and cost improvements. However, their analysis is complex and balancing the needs, benefits and costs across the varied stakeholder groups is a challenge.

There is also lack of understanding on microgrid reliability, benefits, operation, ownership and the governing market rules.

What’s next for Donald and Tarnagulla?

The project is a balance between the technical, cultural and social elements of understanding the feasibility of microgrids and will run for approximately 3 years.

Real data from the Donald Tarnagulla community behavioural elements will be incorporated to inform the feasibility study. This will in turn help identify regulatory and market type barriers and constraints. Furthermore, a microgrid assessment tool and metric will be developed to determine the microgrid suitability in other towns.

A final report on the trial is expected at the end of 2022.

question mark icon

Looking for something else in
Network innovation

Explore another page