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City of Melbourne partners with Origin to deliver community battery

City of Melbourne partners with Origin to deliver community battery
Brendan Rees

A community battery aimed at promoting affordable and sustainable energy consumption is set to be installed at the Boyd Community Hub in Southbank.

The initiative, which is part of the City of Melbourne’s ambitious Power Melbourne pilot, will help cut power costs for residents and businesses, while reducing emissions.

The council announced at the end of January that it had partnered with Origin Energy following a tender process to install the batteries including at the at Library at the Dock in Docklands and a Council House site, which is expected to occur by the middle of this year and have a combined capacity of 450KW.

As reported by Southbank News last year, households who have solar, but no battery would be able to feed into the community battery during the day.

Southbank is Australia’s most densely populated suburb with 98 per cent of residents living in apartments or flats with most renting meaning not everyone can install solar panels.

The delivery of a community battery, which is about the size of a small car, follows the federal government providing a $500,000 grant to the council as part of a pre-election promise.

As previously reported by Southbank News, a new inner-city solar farm on the roof of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) is being actively pursued by authorities to provide a significant boost of renewable energy into the city's grid. 

According to a survey by the council, more than 85 per cent of Melburnians support the installation of community batteries in their local area, with the majority of residents and businesses also agreeing that urgent action was needed on climate change.  

“We’re doing what counts – Power Melbourne will aim to unlock access to cleaner, reliable and more affordable renewable energy for Melburnians,” Lord Mayor Sally said.

 

Partnerships are crucial to the success of innovative projects like this – that’s why we’ve teamed up with Origin Energy to build and operate this flagship battery power network.

 

The council will also work closely with the University of Melbourne, RMIT University and inner-city councils to ensure the Power Melbourne model can be “replicated across greater Melbourne and beyond”.

“We'll also continue to consult with residents and businesses as we test this initial network – to consider how we can utilise the batteries to the benefit of our community,” it said.

Origin Zero executive general manager James Magill said he looked forward to starting work on the trial’s first phase, which he noted was crucial to powering the entire city with renewable energy by 2030.

“We’re excited to partner with the City of Melbourne to help realise its vision to provide residents and businesses with access to more affordable energy, while supporting the transition to renewable energy,” he said.

“Power Melbourne is an exciting and ambitious program. This first stage will see our Origin Zero team, which works with large businesses and councils, install three batteries with a combined storage capacity of 450 kW / 1MWh – a capacity equivalent to powering more than 70 homes each day.”

The council’s environment portfolio lead councillor Rohan Leppert said battery energy storage was “the missing piece of the puzzle” when it came to providing residents and businesses with access to affordable renewable energy.

The Power Melbourne project is aimed at boosting the city’s economy by creating new opportunities for research, industry development, education and training while helping the council achieve net-zero emissions by 2040.  

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