Dr Scott Dwyer, Research Principal, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures explores how Heyfield, Victoria could dictate the path for all edge of grid towns in Australia
More and more communities are looking to make energy work better for them, spurred by a desire to use their local resources more sustainably for the greater benefit of those who live there.
While there is already substantial momentum building with local energy projects, determining a viable path is challenging. What resources can be developed? Which technologies and partners should they choose? What business models will be financially viable? How can the benefits be equally shared among the community?
MyTown aims to answer these questions for the Victorian town of Heyfield, while also seeking to develop a replicable model that can also bring benefits to the surrounding region, as well as other edge-of-grid towns around Australia.
Over the next three years, MyTown will test the viability of microgrids as a local energy solution for the town of Heyfield in Victoria.
A ‘microgrid’ can be defined as a group of homes or businesses that generate, use and share electricity. With the ability to be controlled as a single entity, microgrids are able to connect and disconnect from the main electricity grid as required.
Microgrids have the potential to enhance the integration of renewable energy, draw on local resources, drive deep carbon reductions, and overcome local grid constraints. They can also support the decarbonisation of the wider energy system while also improving overall system resilience.
However, there are many options for communities looking to understand whether a microgrid makes sense for them and determining a viable path can be difficult to navigate.
[l-r]: Moragh McKay, Julie Bryer, Caroline Trevorrow, Tim MCoy, Emma Birchall, Scott Dwyer, Kristy Walters
The Heyfield community
Heyfield is a town of around 2,000 people located in Wellington Shire, Victoria. With a long track record in sustainability initiatives and considerable potential for low-cost and local energy, Heyfield is an ideal location to pilot a new approach with a community at the helm.
Using Heyfield as the model community, the project will bring together progressive industry, community and research partners to pilot an innovative approach to a microgrid feasibility
As well as understanding the feasibility of a microgrid for Heyfield, the project will also develop the knowledge and tools to make it faster, easier and cheaper for other fringe-of-grid towns in regional Australia to do the same for their communities.
Want to know more?
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