Solar microgrid, community battery proposed for Eden and surrounds

Community development officer Eric Wolske said the microgrid and battery project will benefit both community members and businesses. Photo: Leah Szanto.

Community development officer Eric Wolske said the microgrid and battery project will benefit both community members and businesses. Photo: Leah Szanto.

The Eden Recovery and Resilience Alliance has been looking into the feasibility of a solar power microgrid and community battery for Eden.

At this stage the group is fact-finding and developing a draft concept plan, which will be further developed once it has enough information to proceed with a project plan and source funding.

The key aims of the project are:

  • Local electricity generation and storage
  • Fewer carbon emissions
  • Cheaper electricity
  • Social equity
  • Local economic development
  • Resilience

Community development officer Eric Wolske said there will be some community consultation along the way to see how people view solar power and to help overcome any concerns or objections.

"From a resilience perspective, the grid is something that's going to hold us in good stead should there be any further natural disasters," he said.

"In the event the power grid goes down, at least we would have the community battery, it would provide a much stronger guarantee we wouldn't have a loss of power.

"We have been exploring the question, 'What is it the area needs to be self sufficient?'

"We are at the end of the maintenance line for power provider - a grid and battery would offer a far-reaching positive effect.

Mr Wolske said the idea had been discussed at Recovery and Resilience meetings from a conceptual point of view, but that the alliance was looking at it as a viable project.

"Once we get a concept plan in place and do a little more investigation it will go to a wider audience.

"The project plan will invite community engagement, which is vital as it's pointless putting something in place which isn't going to satisfy the majority," Mr Wolske said.

Following that, the idea is to discuss the best place to set the project up in order to be accessible to the whole community and ascertain if more than one grid is needed in order to reach regions like Kiah, Towamba and beyond.

"There may be farmers downsizing who have certain amount of land we could lease. All these things need to be investigated," Mr Wolske said.

"I'm all for sustainable energy. This would be an amazing resource for community and businesses alike.

"It's definitely a project we need to push forward as quickly as we can, with the support of the community," he said.

The plan is similar to that of other small towns such as Tathra and Yackandanda and the Recovery and Resilience Alliance are in discussion with representatives of those projects.

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