Survey results back Power Melbourne, as Boyd set to become home to community battery
The City of Melbourne’s plan to install neighbourhood battery assets throughout the municipality has received strong support following a community survey, with Boyd Community Hub among a list of proposed sites.
According to a report tabled at the council’s Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on December 6, more than 75 per cent of the 311 respondents to the Power Melbourne survey were supportive of a neighbourhood battery in their area.
Power Melbourne, which will help achieve the council’s aim of becoming powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030, will establish a network of neighbourhood-scale batteries across the city in partnership with the University of Melbourne and RMIT.
Neighbourhood-scale batteries increase energy stability and enable the grid to support more rooftop solar by storing generated electricity during the day and discharging it back at night.
The Power Melbourne program aims to make it “easier and more affordable” for residents and small businesses in the inner city who don’t have access to rooftop solar to tap into the renewable energy revolution.
As reported in the March edition of Southbank News, Federal MP for Macnamara Josh Burns announced that the Albanese Government would partner with the council to install a neighbourhood battery in Southbank.
In November, the Victorian Government announced that it was providing the council with $750,000 to help establish a 150kW/300kWh neighbourhood battery at the Library at the Dock in neighbouring Docklands.
A one-megawatt capacity (1000kWh) system is equivalent to powering 2000 average homes for around two hours. So, while the Docklands battery alone won’t not make a pronounced improvement on both the price of energy and the consumption of “greener” power, it represents a solid first step for the council in its renewable energy objectives.
Southbank News also reported in its August edition that the council was in talks with the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) regarding a huge solar installation on its 70,000 sqm roof.
In addition to the council’s other proposed locations including Queen Victoria Market, Council House 2 and the Kensington Recreation Centre, survey respondents also identified sporting facilities, universities, shopping centres, train stations and traffic islands as alternative battery locations.
The majority of those surveyed agreed urgent action was needed on climate change, and that now was the time for Melbourne to accelerate its transition to renewable energy.
In 2019 City of Melbourne councillors declared a climate and biodiversity “emergency”, and have said this was done to “bring a focus to our efforts and investments”.
Addressing the Zero-Carbon Jobs Summit on November 23, held at RMIT University as part of the Victorian Cleantech Expo, the Lord Mayor said council facilities were already 100 per cent powered by renewable energy, however the wider goal was far greater.
“Every light on our streets, every barbecue in our parks and every treadmill in our recreation centres is powered by renewable energy,” she said.
“Our next renewable energy endeavour, Power Melbourne, builds on that remarkable success. It will establish a network of coordinated neighbourhood-scale batteries to deliver more renewable energy into the grid – ensuring that Melbourne is powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and achieves zero net emissions by 2040.”
Councillors were expected to endorse the next steps to deliver Power Melbourne at its December 6 meeting which include to release a tender to identify a commercial partner to build and operate the battery network and provide electricity retail services.
The second phase of Power Melbourne community consultation will begin in early 2023. •