Community Microgrid in the Eurobodalla?

The ANU, SHASA, Essential Energy and Zepben have partnered to see whether a microgrid will work in South Durras, Broulee, Congo, Bodalla, Central Tilba/Tilba Tilba and Mystery Bay.

You are invited to the second round of community forums being undertaken by the South Coast Microgrids Feasibility Project (SµRF).  

At these forums the Project Partners will report to residents on where the project is up to and give you the chance to have your say on microgrid options for the communities.

Workshop details:  

Mystery BaySat 17th June

Mark Stubbings 
0414 223 925
Tilba Small Hall
Workshop details (pdf)
Central and Tilba TilbaSat 17th June

Stuart Absalom
Tilba Large Hall
Workshop details (pdf)
BodallaSun 18th June
10-12 noon

02 44735213
Bodalla Community Hall
Workshop details (pdf)

For more information please contact Phil Shorten, SHASA’s Project Management for the microgrid feasibility project on 043821796 or email phil@impartskills.onmicrosoft.com

Initiated by SHASA, the Southcoast µ-grid Reliability Feasibility (SµRF) is a joint research project funded by the federal government and combines forces from SHASA, the ANU (Australian National University), Essential Energy, and ZepBen to explore the feasibility of microgrids in regional contexts that face challenges in resilience from events such as bushfires, especially in the Eurobodalla shire. 

The aim of the project is to support regional communities to investigate how microgrids will service their electricity needs. 

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Develop high level microgrid design options
  • Produce feasibility business cases (cost and benefits)
  • Cost of major equipment, balance of components
  • Design work, gaining regulatory approvals
  • Installation, operation and maintenance
  • Qualification of services provided including:
    • Length of islanded operation
    • Improvements in solar hosting
    • Electric Vehicle hosting capacity

Following community consultation, SuRF will produce Implementation Plans, and provide steps for each community to undertake SHOULD they wish to progress to a microgrid.
The SµRF project was one of 20 projects announced in Round 2 of the Federal Government’s Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund in late July 2021. Another 17 projects were announced in Round 1 of the same fund. We hope to learn from these other projects to enhance our own. See below under “Useful articles” where we have linked a few of these projects as a start. We hope to add to this as we gain more information.
The SµRF project kicked off in November 2021. ANU as lead partners finalised the contract with the Federal Government in September 2021. ANU have completed negotiations for a Multi Institutional Research Collaborative Agreement (MIRCA – yes!) between the 4 project partners: ANU, SHASA, Essential Energy and Zepben. This outlines the key milestones that each partner will be responsible for to ensure the project is delivered on time and completed successfully. Recruitment has been completed for the key positions involved in the project. 

What’s happened so far?

In 2020, SHASA have recruited two people to job share the SµRF Engagement Officer position: Louise McFadden and Phil Shorten. Phil and Louise prepared an engagement plan and contextual information from across the Eurobodalla to help kick start the project. This was presented to an internal workshop involving all the partners of the SµRF Project held late November 2021. Since then, they have been contacting those who provided letters of support for the project application and also those who have been contacting us since via this website to express interest. 

This information from the community is important in helping identify where in the Eurobodalla is most suitable to further progress the feasibility study. Essential Energy have completed an analysis of local network data to better understand the electricity issues across the Eurobodalla. Concurrently, ANU have completed their ethics application for their social research and have compiled a criteria matrix to collate the Australian Bureau of Statistics information, community readiness data, and electricity network data to assist in analysing the top 8 communities across the Eurobodalla that will be focus of this study. We have held sessions with Eurobodalla Shire Council to assist in gaining contextual knowledge of the local community. 

At the end of 2021, 8 communities were selected based an exhaustive set of criteria. This can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/microgridmethodology. The 8 communities are Bodalla, Broulee, Congo, Mystery Bay, South Durras, Tilba Tilba & Central Tilba.

SHASA in partnership with ANU will be conducting two sets of community discussion forums in Broulee, South Durras, Congo, Bodalla, Mystery Bay, Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba. 

As of mid 2022, ANU are conducting interviews and workshops in Tuross Head and Nelligen. 

We will continue to update as the project progresses – SµRF Project Updates.

If you live in any of the targeted communities and would like to participate, please contact Phil Shorten, 0438217916.

Useful Articles

Are you wondering what a microgrid is? Check out this 5 minute guide to microgrids.

Other microgrid feasibility studies currently underway:

Mytown Microgrid (Heyfield in Victoria) – Round 1 funding. Wattwatchers are one of the partners on the Mytown Microgrid project. They will also be supplying monitoring devices for our SµRF project.

Here is an online interactive microgrid toolbox developed by Monash University with funding from the Victorian Government.

Australia’s 1st Community Battery Trial in WA. This article describes learning for future projects.

Reducing peak consumption came up as an issue in the abovementioned WA project. There are lots of websites on reducing your own energy consumption. As a start, check out Energy.Gov.Au Website Checklist: Start saving with 5 ways to reduce your energy bill now that won’t cost a thing.

Microgrid Knowledge is an Amercian based website that has lots of handy information on microgids. They have developed lots of interesting articles and several handy white papers. Check out the site for more details.

For those who like more detail – here’s some research

Bruny Island Battery Trial Project Final Report Social Science developed by University of Tasmania and Australian National University.

Stakeholder views on the potential role of community scale storage in Australia by ANU from interviews conducted in 2019 and 2020.

Implementing community scale batteries final report for the ARENA funded Community Models for Deploying and Operating DER project by ANU in December 2020. ANU is conducting ongoing research in this area so stay tuned.

We want it to work: understanding household experiences with new energy technologies in Australia. From VOICES (Victorian Energy and Water Ombudsman’s Investigation of Consumer Experiences), March 2021.

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