Photo: A recent Neighbourhood Battery installation (NBI) in Fitzroy carried out by Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF)
The last year has seen Geelong Sustainability deliver a large number of renewable energy projects, among them the Neighbourhood Battery Feasibility Study. This DELWP-funded study looked into the possibility of installing a battery in Geelong and surrounds, and what that might look like.
The project has recently wrapped up, with the final report submitted mid-August. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Mark Borroni and Karina Donkers, who both worked tirelessly on the project and ensured that all avenues were explored, with no stone left unturned.
The study set out to explore and identify the feasibility of installing Neighbourhood Batteries in the City of Greater Geelong region. In particular we were interested in how the installation of neighbourhood batteries could store and retrieve community solar generation, further reducing Geelong’s reliance on fossil fuel-based electricity and helping the community achieve its 100% renewable energy targets.
The key objective for the project was to evaluate potential business models and assess viable paths to neighbourhood battery deployment. In doing so Geelong Sustainability wanted to ensure that community benefits were maintained at the forefront of the project.
What we found was that current battery and installation costs are still very high and the economics are marginal, if not poor. What was also uncovered was the huge complexity of commercial, regulatory and technical requirements for developing, installing and operating Neighbourhood Batteries.
This study has highlighted a number of considerations for Neighbourhood batteries that should be addressed in order to make neighbourhood batteries more feasible. It should also be noted that although it may be possible for Neighbourhood batteries to stack up financially with further incentives or regulation change, the complexities and associated risks of undertaking such a project are beyond which Geelong Sustainability would be willing to take on as a not-for-profit community organisation.
In addition Geelong Sustainability could not fully realise its intended community benefits from a neighbourhood battery. However, with Government support, there are opportunities to help the community directly with a combination of PV Generation and Storage, and Geelong Sustainability would be very keen to work in identifying those opportunities in the Greater Geelong region.