As was sadly proven by the tragic events of the Black Summer bushfires, the NSW South Coast, like many regional communities, is incredibly vulnerable to fires and power outages.
A new project will see Australian National University (ANU) researchers and local sustainability advocates combine their expertise to develop ‘islandable’ microgrids which can maintain power supply in towns and townships, even if the connection to the main grid is lost, as occurred during the bushfires.
According to Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) president Kathryn Maxwell, solutions to the region’s precarious power grid are something the local group has long wanted to find.
However, she explained the group’s best efforts are often hampered by not only the complexities of the power grid, but also by the need to have key players in the region commit to solving issues and secure funding to make changes happen.
$25.6 million in funding was made available through the second round of the Federal Government’s Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund, which is looking to secure reliable, and preferably renewable, electricity for regional and rural communities.
Now that SHASA has teamed up with the ANU, the Eurobodalla project, which was one of 20 in Australia selected, was allocated $3.1 million – one of the highest individual grants nationwide.