Sustainable Melbourne Fund has announced its partnership with Latrobe Valley Microgrid (LTVMG).  The LTVMG focuses on the feasibility of creating a local energy marketplace across 200 dairy farms, over 100 household consumers and around 20 commercial and industrial customers in the Latrobe Valley region. A virtual energy network is a model that could provide a long-term solution to Australia’s evolving energy network – and also deliver vital financial benefits to the dairy industry

The virtual microgrid will incorporate solar PV, battery storage, demand response and enabling technologies combined with LO3’s blockchain-based transactive platform, Exergy™, to deliver a more optimal distributed energy model in the region, with a strong focus on optimising not only a consumer level, but also at a network level.

As finance partner, SMF will provide up to 100% of the capital required through long term loans repaid by a fixed charge on council rates, called Environmental Upgrade Agreements.  By stretching out payments over a long period of time, the project will enable immediate free cash-flows to be generated to businesses and therefore the wider Latrobe Valley community.

SMF will run a tender process to secure competitive rates for solar, batteries and other technologies and ensure quality installations occur which farmers can take advantage of for their own consumption needs.  This will allow farmers to gain immediate financial benefits while preparing farms and businesses to participate in the microgrid subject to feasibility to potentially generate future additional income.

The Latrobe Valley Microgrid (LTVMG) project will demonstrate how local distributed energy resources and demand response can be incorporated into a local energy marketplace to improve the efficiency, security and resiliency of the electricity grid, and improve economic outcomes for participants.  The Project has secured Federal Government funding for a feasibility study through ARENA.

Interested businesses, farms and residents in the Latrobe valley can register their interest in the project by following this link.

The project involves a consortium of partners including AusNet Services, Sustainable Melbourne Fund, Dairy Australia and Siemens.