Massive energy boost for local businesses

05 Sep 2018 Euroa Gazette, Euroa VIC (General News) by Grace Evans BUSINESSES and residents in the township of Euroa will have their energy costs cut through a new investment in microgrid projects. A bid by the Euroa Environment Group (EEG ) to develop an energy MicroGrid in partnership with local Euroa businesses has been given the go ahead by the Andrews Labor Government. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) visited Euroa on Monday to announce a $680,000 grant towards the Euroa Microgrid in funding, which will be awarded to the EEG as part of the Labor Governments state wide Microgrid Demonstration Initiative. A microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local supply of power that can function independently off the electricity grid, delivering energy security, sustainability and cost savings for those in the network. Initial funding was chased by the EEG, a community group with a vision to find solutions to environmental challenges. President of the EEG, Shirley Saywell said the grant is a testament to the determination of a little community to be part of the energy revolution which state and territory governments are now delivering. The project is as much about rural town revitalisation as it is about reducing greenhouse gases and energy costs, she said. We must drive the energy revolution our towns, our businesses, and our childrens futures demand action on climate change now. The EEGs Environmental Series was held in 2015 which brought together the community and significant highly qualified speakers which highlighted the urgency of the challenges of climate change to us, to Australia and to the world. Business owners from around Euroa were approached by the EEG late last year with an idea to build a community energy micro-grid, based around the generation, storage and sharing of solar energy. Twelve businesses immediately showed interest in the project and a submission was lodged soon after. The project aims to enable local businesses to reduce their reliance on at times unreliable grid-supplied energy and lead to significant cost savings. The micro-grid will mean those local businesses who participate would become both producers and distributers of power via solar panels and batteries, with energy trading of surplus becoming a reality. It will also reduce the local demand for electricity from the grid and reduce the need for seasonal diesel generators, in doing so Euroa will demonstrate an economic alternative for local renewable generation for network operators. Euroa Environment Group will work alongside Mondo Power and Globird Energy throughout the project who will install 589 kW of new solar PV and up to 400 kWh of new batteries. Ms Symes said the microgrid projects are part of a plan to drive down energy prices, reduce emissions and create a pipeline of investment in renewable energy and North East Victorian communities should be congratulated for driving these projects. This initiative will demonstrate how a microgrid can operate in country Victoria and provide economic benefits to the Euroa community, she said. What we have here in Euroa is an exceptional demonstration of the community, business and environmental groups all working together to not only reduce our energy use but secure it through renewables. The microgrid will generally operate while connected to the grid, but importantly, it can break off and operate on its own using local energy generation in times of crisis like storms or power outages.