What is a microgrid?
The Victorian Government is supporting and developing microgrids. A microgrid can be thought of as a small ‘subset’ of the electricity grid that provides energy generation and storage at a local level. They can incorporate renewable energy generation (for example, from solar panels or wind turbines) as well as battery energy storage.
Some microgrids can operate independently of the grid during power outages (also referred to as ‘islanding’), which can be particularly helpful for communities in regional and rural settings.
Community Microgrid and Sustainable Energy Program
After the extreme 2019–20 fire season, a feasibility study was undertaken. The study aimed to assess the potential of installing new resilient energy infrastructure options. These would support communities and households with power during high-impact and extreme weather events.
The Community Microgrid and Sustainable Energy Program were announced in May 2021. It will support the installation of a mix of solar, batteries and other distributed energy resources for a range of buildings. These include essential service buildings, commercial and industrial buildings and households. The program will provide reliable power supply and build energy resilient rural communities.
The locations identified through the feasibility study and receiving support include:
Read the Funding to help protect bushfire-affected communities media release.
Program update – February 2022
Visit Engage Victoria for community consultation information.
Energy Resilience Design Studies
In response to the June and October 2021 major storm events and prolonged power outages, DELWP is funding Energy Resilience Design Studies in a number of affected towns across Victoria.
As more communities are looking to make energy work better for them, the aim of the studies is to investigate energy resilience solutions for these towns, including:
- Energy back-up systems for essential services and community hubs, including:
- Rooftop solar
- Diesel generators
- Larger town-scale energy solutions.
Such options may offer the potential to boost network resilience in high-risk areas and ensure community relief hubs and key infrastructure maintain power during future extreme weather events.
DELWP is working with electricity distributors AusNet Services, Powercor and United Energy on the studies and is consulting with key local stakeholders, including Local Councils and emergency services organisations, to discuss the location and function of potential energy solutions.
The studies will be completed in late 2022 and will inform future potential implementation works.
The studies are informed by the Electricity Distribution Network Resilience Review‘s Expert Panel Final Recommendations Report .
The studies focus on select towns within the following Local Government Areas.
- Cardinia Shire
- City of Greater Bendigo
- Colac Otway Shire
- Corangamite Shire
- Hepburn Shire
- Macedon Ranges Shire
- Moorabool Shire
- Mornington Peninsula Shire
- Moyne Shire
- Nillumbik Shire
- Surf Coast Shire
- Wellington Shire
Microgrid Demonstration Initiative
The $10 million Microgrid Demonstration Initiative (MDI) supports the development and implementation of microgrid demonstration projects. These projects address key microgrid sector challenges. They also contribute to the unlocking of the microgrid sector in Victoria.
The MDI grant program funding supports statewide microgrid projects. These total over $27 million in value.