DAIRY farmers wanting to lower their energy costs are being urged to consider an exciting new ‘peer-to-peer’ power project.
The Latrobe Valley Microgrid, which is still at the feasibility study stage, aims to help:
• Customers buy and sell electricity ‘peer to peer’ within a local energy marketplace and be paid for ‘negawatts’ – the energy saved by turning off an appliance
• Install local solar and battery systems to provide much needed cost savings and additional revenue streams to support the farming industry
• Local businesses and residents to securely buy and sell energy and benefit from efficient energy choices, while at the same time contributing to lowering future network costs for all customers.
Farmers in Latrobe City, Wellington, Baw Baw and South Gippsland shires are welcome to apply to become part of the feasibility study.
GippsDairy regional manager Allan Cameron said the Microgrid project has the potential to change the way the dairy industry approaches energy usage.
“Dairy farms are high electricity users and all farmers would love to reduce the costs that come with running a dairy business,” he said.
“While it’s still early days for the Microgrid project, the prospect of being able to generate, store and trade energy within local regions is exciting for an industry that is aiming for cost reductions, improved energy reliability and long term sustainability.”
The nine-month study, which is backed by network operator AusNet and supported by Dairy Australia, GippsDairy, Sustainable Melbourne Fund, Siemens and LO3 Energy, will evaluate the appetite for a local microgrid.
People can sign up at www.latrobevalley.energy simply by filling out a form and submitting a utility bill – and if the project gets enough support it will get the green light to make Latrobe Valley the first region in Australia where local people can truly control their energy purchases.
“A microgrid makes a lot of sense for dairy farming regions, so we hope people get behind this to make it happen,” Lawrence Orsini, CEO of Microgrid developer LO3 Energy, said.
“This area already has a lot of renewable generation while local farms are ideal for solar generation. By connecting up local suppliers and residents a microgrid would keep that energy local and stimulate the economy.”
Dairy Australia has also backed the scheme in a bid to help boost local farms.
“We hope lots of people sign up because we believe this local energy marketplace offers huge potential for local farmers,” Dairy Australia spokesman Ian Olmstead said.
“Energy is a rapidly rising cost in dairy farming – but the large farm buildings and sheds are prime locations for rooftop solar panels that can produce their own energy.
“Some have already invested in solar to reduce their energy costs but a local energy marketplace would add further incentive as any surplus energy could be sold directly to locals at rates that benefit both buyers and sellers.”
A typical dairy farm has a rigid energy consumption profile that allows excess energy to be sold in the daytime.
Farmers, as well as residents and other businesses, with existing renewable generation and/or battery storage, or considering installing solar/battery etc, or who would like to buy energy locally, can sign up to the feasibility study by visiting www.latrobevalley.energy