A feasibility study funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) could soon generate and trade energy via a virtual microgrid for dairy farmers in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.
The agency is putting up $370,000 towards the study for the $775,000 project, which led by Brooklyn-based energy company LO3 Energy.
It will offer dairy farmers a better deal on energy prices because the virtual micro grid will connect local energy producers and users, along with being able to reduce power bills by selling their solar energy back to the grid.
The project aims to include up to 200 dairy farms and more than 100 household consumers. It will also include other locally selected commercial and industrial customers. The micro grid will be made up of solar PV and solar energy storage.
Farmers that are in joining will be offered loans from the Sustainable Melbourne Fund, which can be repaid through local rates with no upfront cost.
The Sustainable Melbourne Fund is combining with partners including Dairy Australia and Siemens to facilitate the project. The micro grid will also use the AusNet Services distribution network.
There are now several trials of renewable energy micro grids are taking place around the country, allowing consumers to sell their excess solar energy for profit and buy low-cost energy from other users when needed.
By cutting the middleman, it gives users more control over their energy consumption and can save more money for everyone involved.