BIRCHIP Cropping Group has received a $210,000 state government grant to help develop a new microgrid demonstration project at its facility.
A microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local supply of power that can function independently of the electricity grid.
BCG business development and innovation manager Cameron Taylor said the group had worked on the proposal for six months.
“What our microgrid will comprise of will be solar PV panels and a battery component; the solar panels will be able to generate 51 klilowatts and the batteries can store a maximum of 137 kilowatts,” he said.
“The idea behind the microgrid is giving our business power security that is not reliant on the grid; it also gives us total control where we want to use our power from.
“If the grid power was cheaper then we could still use the grid’s power; or the over way around, we will be able to sell back into the grid when the prices are high.”
The project will be led by SwitchDin to provide a working demonstration of microgrid technology.
SwitchDin will work with Birchip Cropping Group and Walnut Energy Systems to deliver the $319,000 project, which has the potential to be used as a model for other farms and businesses across the state.
“We’re excited for the build to start after many months of working on the project with our partners,” he said.
“The bit we’re really excited about is trialing new technology to engage with farming communities and broader business. It gives an opportunity for people within the community to come and look at the new technology.
“We also plan to hold workshops for people to learn about the technology to find ways to make their businesses not as risky and to offer them lower energy costs.”
Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the project would help demonstrate the benefits of microgrids for farmers and businesses.
“These projects are part of our plan to drive down energy prices, reduce emissions and create a pipeline of investment in renewable energy,” she said.