The regional town of Mallacoota, Victoria, is one of the first in Australia to have a grid-connected energy storage system included in its local network, following the installation of a community battery by AusNet Services.

The innovative project plays a key role in improving power reliability by up to 90 per cent for the town of Mallacoota. AusNet has contributed $7.5 million for this project which forms part of the Victorian Government’s recently announced program to improve energy services in bushfire-prone areas.

Mallacoota is situated at the end of a 240km radial line from Bairnsdale, via Cann River, which means the radial power line coming all the way from Bairnsdale is often exposed to storms, vegetation and wildlife as it traverses over remote landscape and up into the town.

The elements often contribute to power outages along the radial line which can take time for crews to patrol the remote area to locate and fix the problem before restoring power.

This new large-scale battery, designed as a hybrid system combined with a generator, will keep the power running for the town while crews restore problems that occur along the incoming line. Within the past two weeks since the system was completed it has already operated twice, successfully keeping the power on for the Mallacoota community.

Derek Jayasuriya, Principal Engineer at AusNet Services, believes the new technology is a solid foundation to build on energy resilience for remote communities, particularly during bushfires.

“Improving energy resilience for the communities we serve, while keeping costs down for Victorians is critical in delivering the best experience for our customers,” Mr Jayasuriya said.

“This innovative solution strikes the right balance, and we are very pleased to be here in Mallacoota today with the community who will be among the first to benefit from this new technology.”

The Mallacoota power storage facility includes a lithium ion battery with a total storage capacity of 1MWh. This could power 1,000 average homes for approximately two hours, and up to one day when combined with the generator.

The battery will be charged from the grid and will feed power back into the town during local outages, to lessen the impact of these outages on the Mallacoota community.

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