$4.5m Announced in Renewable Energy Grants

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Two renewable energy projects have received funding as part of the NSW government Regional Community Energy Fund (RCEF) totalling close to $4.5m.

Coolamon Energy was awarded $3.5m for the Byron Bay Solar Farm and Storage Facility project. This consists of a 5MW solar farm and battery storage facility that will be set up in Byron Shire by Byron Bay Solar Fam Holdings.

‘The Byron Bay Solar Fam is a new 7.4MW DC/ 4.99MW AC photovoltaic (PV) solar farm with a 5MW/ 10MWh lithium-ion battery storage facility,’ said project spokesperson Craig Johnston.

‘The design is innovative as it specifies a central inverter with DC coupled storage – we believe this is a first for an Australian regional community energy project.’

Congratulating Coolamon Energy Tamara Smith, member for Ballina said, ‘moving as quickly as possible to beyond zero emissions and away from the fossil fuel industry is the brief and our community is delivering.’

Mr Johnston says that in terms of delivering back to the community ‘we hope to be able to work with Enova Energy to be able to offer Byron Bay residents locally generated renewable energy from the sun from 2021 onwards’.

ENOVA’s community battery

Enova Community Energy in conjunction with the University of Newcastle and Enosi Energy has also received close to $1m in funding for the installation of a 2MHh battery in a regional NSW location yet to be determined. This aims to implement peer-to-peer trading (provided by partner Enosi) of the stored energy across 500 Enova customers, and aims to reduce electricity bills for Enova customers.

‘Community batteries are one of the last pieces in the puzzle to bring efficient control of energy generation, storage, and supply right back to where they belong: in the hands of people in their own communities,’ Enova Community Energy Chair, Alison Crook said.

Enova CEO Felicity Stening welcomed this opportunity for Enova, ‘It will enable Enova to make its debut into grid-scale energy storage and bring peer-to-peer energy trading to our customers. Enova is absolutely stepping into its role as a leader in helping communities build energy self-sufficiency.’

NSW Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean said the Shared Community Battery Project would help regional communities take control of their energy bills and benefit from the economic opportunities presented by changes in the energy system.

‘These innovative renewable energy projects will help to make electricity more reliable and affordable for our regional communities,’ Mr Kean said.

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