More power to Merri-bek thanks to $500,000 community battery funding

By May 26, 2023June 19th, 2023No Comments

Merri-bek City Council has received a $500,000 Federal Government grant towards a project to install a community battery installed in Brunswick in the coming two years. The aim is for any revenue generated from this battery to help reduce energy bills and emissions.

Merri-bek Mayor Cr Angelica Panopoulos said the Brunswick community battery will be an innovative partnership between Council, site service providers, commercial partners and the Merri-bek community.

“I want to thank the Federal Government – this funding has energised us to continue delivering innovative environmental initiatives that offer value to our community,” Cr Panopoulos said.

“Through our community battery project, we aim to improve network conditions, help reduce energy bills and emissions, and encourage more residents to install solar panels.

“More than 8700 Merri-bek residents have made the switch to solar energy. We know there’s increasing appetite from our community to take more control over their energy sources and support local sources of electricity, and our new community battery will help achieve that.”

“Council will aim to implement a model where it can receive a portion of the revenue from power stored in this battery, which will be directed towards more subsidies for low-income homeowners to install solar panels and upgrade insulation and draught proofing.”

Council will also contribute approximately $600,000 to deliver the battery, which is expected to be installed and producing community benefit by March 2025.

“We’ll aim to ensure the battery integrates into the vibrant, artistic background of Brunswick by giving a local artist an opportunity to use the battery enclosure as a canvas,” Cr Panopoulos said.

“Council also applied for a grant in Coburg but was unsuccessful, however we welcome news that local energy distributor Jemena Electricity Networks has been successful in a grant application to deliver a community battery in Coburg. We look forward to offering our advice and support to help Jemena Electricity Networks deliver this asset, and amplify benefits for our community.”

This is the latest in a series of initiatives by Merri-bek to support residents to switch to solar, including its Go Electric campaign and grants of up to $3000 for low-income homeowners to install solar panels and upgrade insulation and draughtproofing under the Zero Carbon Merri-bek Climate Emergency Action Plan.

The exact site of the battery is currently being determined.

The funding is part of the Federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water’s Community Batteries for Household Solar Program.