Endeavour working on stand-alone community microgrid on the NSW South Coast
Electricity network business Endeavour Energy will fast-track a $4.8 million initiative to build the first resilient energy community on the NSW South Coast.
Funded with support of the NSW Government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, the initiative will see the coastal towns of Bawley Point and Kioloa become the centrepiece of Endeavour Energy’s first community microgrid, with the aim of providing a reliable, renewable, and stand-alone power supply during network outages.
A microgrid is a local energy system that draws electricity from renewable sources such as solar panels and batteries. While it is connected to the main electricity grid, it can operate independently during outages, providing a consistent power supply to local customers.
Endeavour Energy CEO, Guy Chalkley, said the project would help deliver a more resilient energy supply in the face of increasingly frequent and extreme weather events, whilst also catering for peaks in energy demand that coincide with the arrival of holiday makers to the popular coastal area.
Mr Chalkley said the announcement will kick off a program of consultation over the coming months which will involve the community and other stakeholders in establishing the region’s first operational community microgrid.
“Microgrids are clever ways to use locally generated renewable energy which is cost efficient and reliable,” he said.
“This is an exciting opportunity to partner with residents and businesses in Bawley Point and Kioloa to pioneer innovative customer-focused energy solutions that future proof our communities, now and beyond.”
Mr Chalkley thanked the NSW Government for funding part of the initiative through its Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, and the Shoalhaven City Council for supplying the site for the new grid battery that, in time, will replace the diesel generator to support local electricity supply.
“With funding from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund and support from Shoalhaven City Council, we are able to fast-track the delivery of our first microgrid to ensure the Bawley Point and Kioloa communities have a reliable power supply when they need it most,” he said.
“Microgrids eliminate the need for large substations so in time these savings, will be passed on to customers. It’s a win for them, the network and the environment as our network creates the kind of sustainable benefits that we all want.”
Member for South Coast, Shelley Hancock MP, said the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery fund is designed to strengthen community resilience and reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
“More than a year has passed since we cleared 3,600 properties across NSW that were damaged or destroyed by the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019/2020, and we are continuing to deliver the support that the community needs to keep moving forward in recovery,” Mrs Hancock said.
“People are rebuilding lives and through the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund we are backing projects that will bring communities together, support tourism, provide improved or new social amenity, and increased preparedness to future bushfires. All of these things play a part in recovery.”
In creating a resilient energy community, Endeavour Energy is also working with the Shoalhaven City Council to convert more than 170 streetlights to smart LEDs that will deliver more efficient energy usage and allow the community to keep the lights on, even when disconnected from the main network.