Endeavour Energy said the $4.8 million initiative will see the New South Wales (NSW) South Coast towns of Bawley Point and Kioloa become the centrepiece of the electricity distribution network service provider’s first community microgrid.
Endeavour said the solar-storage microgrid, which will replace an existing 1MW diesel-fuelled generator, will connect to the main electricity grid, but will be able to operate independently during outages, providing a reliable, renewable and stand-alone power supply during network outages.
The Bawley Point and Kioloa communities are among those that were affected by the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019-20 that devastated much of the state. More than 3,600 properties across NSW were damaged or destroyed during those fires.
Endeavour chief executive Guy Chalkley said the microgrid project, funded with support of the NSW Government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, would help deliver a more resilient energy supply in the face of “increasingly frequent and extreme weather events”. He said it would also cater for peaks in energy demand that coincide with the arrival of holiday makers to the popular coastal area.
“This is an exciting opportunity to … pioneer innovative customer-focused energy solutions that future proof our communities, now and beyond,” Chalkley said.
Endeavour, which owns, maintains and operates the electrical distribution network supplying 2.6 million people in households and businesses across Sydney’s Greater West, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands the Illawarra and the South Coast, said it expects to add a number of microgrids to its network, saying they “will create a more modular grid that is customised to suit the needs of the local community”.
“Microgrids are an exciting technology that really provide clever ways to localise power to the needs of the people in the area,” the network operator said. “It will help us better use localised renewable energy, which is cost efficient, and create better reliability too.”
“Microgrids eliminate the need for large substations so in time these savings, will be passed on to customers. It’s a win for them, the network and the environment as our network creates the kind of sustainable benefits that we all want.”
Chalkley said Friday’s announcement marks the start of a program of consultation which will involve the community and other stakeholders, including the Shoalhaven City Council which has supplied the site for the new grid battery.
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