$7.5 million for backup power systems, and $9.8 million for rural microgrids are part of the Victorian Government’s new plans for increasing energy network resilience and future-proofing infrastructure against weather systems.
Victorian Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio, announced $7.5 million for crucial backup power systems in 24 towns hit by major storms in 2021 – including batteries and rooftop solar on community buildings – which will be relief hubs in the event of a prolonged power outage.
The energy systems will provide power to community hubs when damage to the network causes a widespread outage, allowing residents to shower, heat food and charge devices.
“With climate change set to increase the frequency and intensity of storms and bushfires, we’re developing energy resilience solutions to protect Victorian communities during extreme weather events,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“We’re delivering renewable energy solutions to communities across the state – securing energy supply, driving down power bills and slashing emissions to combat climate change and mitigate its impact on Victorians.”
In response to the 2021 storms and the threat of future climate-related extreme weather events, the Victorian Government studied storm-impacted communities across the state for the best locations for the hubs.
The study looked for energy hubs in Cardinia Shire, Hepburn Shire, Moyne Shire, City of Greater Bendigo, Macedon Ranges Shire, Nillumbik Shire, Colac Otway Shire, Moorabool Shire, Surf Coast Shire, Corangamite Shire, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Wellington Shire and Yarra Ranges Shire.
The State Government identified 24 towns and will now begin to work with energy providers, local governments and emergency services organisations to deliver the new energy solutions.
The State Government is also investing $9.8 million to deploy a mix of solar panels, batteries, heat pumps and generators to the three towns – Mallacoota, Omeo and Corryong.
The microgrids will provide crucial backup power in the event of a power outage caused by a bushfire.
Work is also underway to secure communities at risk of outages caused by bushfires, after the 2019-20 fires left areas in East Gippsland disconnected from the state’s grid. Through the Community Microgrids and Sustainable Energy Program, Victoria is funding new energy-resilient infrastructure with AusNet.