The Electric Avenue Feasibility Study was a collaborative study with 12 community-based partners which identified preferred locations for batteries across many neighbourhoods.
It was supported by a grant from the Victorian Government’s Neighbourhood Battery Initiative in 2021 and was completed in June 2022. Importantly, it found neighbourhood batteries are very promising. But they are also very complex projects.
The partners worked together to investigate the various uses for batteries, the key factors to consider in their location, design and planning, as well as the commercial considerations for not only their costs and potential revenue streams.
For most partners, their interest in neighbourhood batteries is related to community concerns over climate change and their preference was for the batteries to be community-owned. The study therefore prioritised locations where there is a demand related network opportunity, high residential solar penetration, available land and community support.
The study also revealed a number of important learnings about how to plan and design battery projects for success. These are detailed more in The Powerful Neighbours Report but in summary are:
- Know the purpose and objectives for the battery
- Embrace communities in the journey
- Financial sustainability is a function of scale
- With ownership comes great responsibility and cost
- The approvals process has just got easier.
The study ultimately identified 30 preferred locations for neighbourhood batteries.
This started as a long-list of 84 potential sites that were assessed based on criteria developed in consultation with all partners.
The list includes 17 sites on the United Energy and Powercor networks that best met the criteria for batteries that can provide a network benefit. That is, enabling more rooftop solar connections in the community to export excess power as well as ensuring power is reliable on peak demand days.
A further 13 sites were identified by community partners. These batteries were intended for a variety of uses including support for community infrastructure hubs and energy resilience objectives when associated with solar systems for back-up supplies in an emergency.
We will continue to support our partners in further considering the sites identified as part of planning for either individual battery projects or a portfolio of batteries.
Learn more about neighbourhood batteries
A set of three animated stories were developed as part of the Electric Avenue Feasibility Study and are available to be shared for the information of communities considering neighbourhood battery projects.
The battery experience
This animation tells the story of how batteries blend into the neighbourhood when located on poles or on the ground. It also explains how batteries are charged either from local rooftop solar energy or the power sourced from large scale energy generators including solar and wind farms.
The benefits of batteries
More energy is now available in the middle of the day as more renewables supply power to our homes and businesses. This animation tells this story about the role batteries play in making sure extra energy is stored locally so it can be used later when needed.
This animation explains how batteries are designed under strict regulatory standards to be quiet and safe for people and the environment. It also introduces some of the criteria considered for where they are located like the distance to homes, sight lines for neighbours and site accessibility.
Powerful Neighbours Report and Guide
Neighbourhood Battery Site Selection Criteria
Community battery trial tariff factsheet
United Energy is introducing community battery trial network tariffs from 1 July 2022. Find out more about the tariff options available.
Media release: Scouting future community battery sites across Melbourne
United Energy will explore opportunities to locate community batteries across parts of the eastern and south-eastern corridor as part of the Victorian Government’s Neighbourhood Battery Initiative.