Resilience need sparks idea

April 2, 2024 BY

Staying connected: Powercor’s General Manager of Regulation, Renate Vogt, met with Ballarat residents on 18 March. Photo: SUPPLIED

THREE regional Victorian towns are being considered for a new approach to electricity supply, that could keep their access to power secure in the event of an outage.

Electricity distributor Powercor are considering a range of ideas to boost the resilience of its network, including ‘stand-alone microgrids’.

Ballan, Trentham, and Lancefield have all been identified as potential locations for these microgrids, with the company seeking feedback from customers on the microgrids and other resilience measures.

Powercor describes the microgrids as “a standalone power network backed by a large-scale battery – capable of keeping the lights on and ‘islanding’ the community in the event of a major power outage”.

Powercor representatives met with community members in Ballarat on 18 March, and an online forum was also held on 27 March, to hear residents’ feedback.

“Microgrids are just some of the ideas Powercor is exploring and is discussing with customers ahead of submitting a draft of its five-year business plan to the Australian Energy Regulator in August,” a Powercor spokesperson said.

“Some of the other resilience measures being explored include targeted undergrounding of powerlines, fire-proof-wrapping wooden poles in high fire danger areas, increasing the heights of powerlines in flood prone areas and expanding the fleet of mobile large-scale generators.”

Powercor’s General Manager of Regulation, Renate Vogt, said Powercor would continue to seek feedback and test proposed solutions, costs, and benefits with customers, before publishing draft plans in August.

“As we are experiencing more intense weather events, we need to prioritise investments that build and maintain stronger networks and communities,” Ms Vogt said.

“Just as more extreme weather is increasing the risk of prolonged outages, our customers are becoming more dependent on electricity than ever before.

“We are listening to our customers to help us find solutions to build more resilient networks in the face of climate change, while keeping costs as low as possible.”

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