What is the project about?

The Latrobe Valley Microgrid (LVM) Project will demonstrate the potential for a microgrid and local energy market to deliver benefits to farmers, businesses and residential customers in the Gippsland region.

What is a microgrid?

We define a microgrid as an ecosystem of distributed energy resources (DER), including solar PV, battery storage and smart appliances, that are interconnected via the internet and allow energy to be generated, stored and used at a local level.

How would a local market operate?

LO3 Energy, an energy technology company, has developed a technology platform that will allow those customers who can generate their own electricity – called prosumers – to sell their electricity to other customers. This is often referred to as peer to peer trading. The platform will also allow customers to sell other services, such as their demand response capability (if they have batteries for example) to assist AusNet in managing the network.

Participants will use a mobile phone app to access the market and set their energy preferences and the prices for which they would be willing to buy or sell energy or energy related services.

Who are the project partners?

The LVM project is led by LO3 Energy and supported by a consortium of partners including: Dairy Australia, AusNet Services, Siemens, Australia, Sustainable Melbourne Fund, CommPower Industrial and ARENA.

How will the project be implemented?

There are two stages to the project, a feasibility stage and pilot stage. The feasibility study will determine whether there is value in implementing a local market, which includes a recruitment process for establishing the level of interest for participating in the project. We expect to finalise this assessment by the end of May 2019. The pilot stage will implement the local market for a period to test whether it can work and deliver benefits in practice. If the feasibility study is successful, we anticipate the pilot stage commencing in mid-late 2019.

At the end of the pilot stage a decision will be made on whether to continue the local market indefinitely, which will be based on experiences of the project participants.

How is the project funded?

The feasibility study is co-funded by project partners and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). Dairy Australia is supporting the project by helping to recruit dairy farmers to be part of the project while also ensuring the study maintains a focused on delivering positive outcomes for the farming community.

How can I participate in the project?

You can participate in the project by providing the project team access to your energy data by completing and returning the consent form. By signing this form, you agree to become a participant in the microgrid project and provide us with information we will need for modelling the economic benefits of the project. This information includes your address, current retail and network charges and historical energy consumption data for use in the project. The consent form sets strict limits on how we can use this information, to protect your privacy.

How will my data be used?

To model the potential benefits of the Latrobe Valley Microgrid we need potential participants to give us access to their data. Based on your historical energy consumption and existing energy charges we can model the base case and then what would happen under different potential local energy marketplace conditions. We can then aggregate and extrapolate from this modelling to develop the value proposition to potential participants.

Who will have access to my data?

The project team is comprised of LO3 Energy, Dairy Australia, AusNet Services, Siemens, Sustainable Melbourne Fund and CommPower Industrial. Partners have different parts of the value analysis to perform and will have access to the data relevant to their analysis only. All data will be stored in accordance with Australian privacy and data security requirements. Data will not be shared beyond the project team and all data will be aggregated and/or anonymised before being included in the feasibility study so there is no chance of users being identified in any way.

What if I don’t have solar PV?

You may participate in the project even if you have no interest in installing solar PV or batteries on site. One of the objectives of the feasibility study is to test whether customers can lower their energy cost, or derive value in other ways, by purchasing electricity from within their local community.

What if I’m interested in installing solar PV?

One of the potential benefits to participating in the feasibility study is that you can receive a free desktop solar proposal which would tell you what size installation would be appropriate for your site, and give an indication of the cost of such a system. There are financing options available as well. You can request a solar and/or financing proposal at LatrobeValley.Energy.

How will I benefit from the project?

By participating in the project, you are supporting further development of the concept of local energy markets as an innovative new way of buying and selling energy. We believe local markets can deliver better value to customers and communities by giving them greater choice and control over how energy is sourced and used.

You will also have the opportunity to have a free assessment of your site capacity to either have solar power installed
or to get more value for the excess energy you already produce.

We will also inform you of the various government grants and other incentives available that can help support your solar power or battery purchase.