MyTown Microgrid is an innovative, multi-year, multi-stakeholder project undertaking a detailed data-led feasibility study for the historic town of Heyfield. The objective is a better energy future for the people of Heyfield, and a role model for other communities.
What is it about?
Over the three-year duration, the project aims to undertake a detailed data-led microgrid and energy solutions feasibility study for Heyfield, built on a platform of deep community engagement and capacity building.
The project will also develop the knowledge and tools to make it faster, easier, and more cost effective for other regional communities to understand the microgrid and other energy solution propositions for their community.
When did it start?
In June 2020, $1.8 million from the Federal Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund and $100,000 from the Latrobe Valley Authority was granted to the project partners to undertake a study, testing what local energy solution is feasible and desirable for the town.
The Heyfield Community Resource Centre, Wattwatchers Digital Energy, and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) are leading the project. They are joined by partners the Public Interest Advocacy Centre Ltd. (PIAC), Federation University Australia, AusNet Services, RMIT University, Latrobe Valley Authority (LVA), and the Community Power Agency (CPA). The project will conclude in Jun 2023.
What does it involve?
Since its inception in 2020, the project has conducted a pre-feasibility study, surveying the Heyfield Community on its attitudes towards renewable energy and energy resilience. It has formed a Community Reference Group, officially launched itself to the public in February 2021 and captured the community’s vision and values for its energy future.
The project has also installed 98 energy monitoring devices, across 79 sites, including homes, businesses, farms and two primary schools. Crucially, these devices capture participants’ energy usage and generation data, which is then used within the feasibility study.
More and more communities are taking control of their own energy supply in Australia. Spurred by new, affordable, clean technology options, these communities are part of a global movement changing the way electricity is generated, transmitted, stored and used. Localised solutions empower communities to become resilient and adapt to crisis situations.
In case you missed it
Free Community Webinar:
How to Build a Community Energy Group
More and more communities, both urban and regional are seeking to take control of their electricity.
How do they become communities of action and organise themselves to achieve their goals?
This webinar seeks to answer those questions with panelists, from the Community Power Agency, Gippsland Climate Change Network and Totally Renewable Phillip Island providing their national, regional and local perspectives on community energy
To view the webinar or look at the presentations, please click on the links below.
Want to know more?
You can now dive into the detail of the MyTown Microgrid Feasibility Study by reading our milestone reports, written for the Study's funding bodies and the community
The project reports are grouped into the three phases of the project:
Project Phase 1: Initiation, data deployment, community engagement and business model options, available below
Project Phase 2: Intensifying the technical options assessments, data deployment and first lessons learnt
Project Phase 3: Finalisation of the project and next steps for Heyfield and other communities
Please note that while Phases 1 and 2 have been completed, Phase 3 is currently in progress and is expected to be completed by July 2023, with reports published by September 2023.
Simply click on the project titles to view the reports.
Outputs from Project Phase 1
Microgrid vs The Grid
Murray Hogarth of MyTown project partner Wattwatchers, makes the case for The Grid.
'Household Solar and Total Energy Consumption'
This document summarises the community engagement since the inception of the project and provides some lessons learnt for other communities. The report is structured chronologically and comprises major milestones – the aims and purpose - as well as process, outcomes and outputs.
Local residents are recruited as participants to take part in the MyTown Microgrid project based on those willing to have Wattwatchers devices installed in their homes or businesses. The Data Sampling Design Plan was developed to map out the participants by type, location and size, and to define the type of data to capture and technical parameters of the monitoring equipment and recruitment process. The plan is for the deployment of devices and capture of data to support the modelling of the potential microgrid and other energy solution options as well as supporting the key project outcome: the development of a community-facing Microgrid Decision Support Tool.
This document builds on the Data Sampling Design Plan to detail the experience deploying the monitoring devices into the Heyfield community between 1 Jan 2021 and 30 June 2021.
Despite enduring through long periods of COVID-19 restrictions, 80 participants completed the registration process, including responding to a comprehensive survey questionnaire from the Ecologic Apps, Survey and installations were completed at 48 residential sites and 2 school sites with a total of 57 Wattwatchers devices installed.
The key lessons learned included: limiting the changes to participant recruitment processes that may delay the research ethics approval process; starting participant recruitment as early as possible; and not to underestimate the effort required to engage with the community.
The project involves a co-design process to allow community, network and industry partners to understand and prioritise the pros and cons of different business model (BM) options, and how they can be progressed to meet the community goals above.
This report provides a first input to this process comprising a business model market scan, overview of regulatory developments and risks, and a number of case study examples. The regulatory and market review supports a greater understanding of potential opportunities and barriers in order to avoid or work around the regulatory and market impediments associated with partner or business model choices.
A key output of this project is the techno-economic analysis and decision support tool The Conceptual Data and Analytical Framework documented in this report details how the techno-economic analysis in work package 3 and the decision support tool in work package 5 will be produced. The framework maps the different data types to be used, and identifies how these will be transformed into intelligence that will assist the community to develop and make decisions on a viable package of energy options, including definition of the modelling and assessment tasks.
Back in September 2021, the MyTown team hosted it's first community webinar providing an update on the project. The event continued with researcher and community energy expert, Heather Smith discussing how solar PV can contribute to a microgrid.
Click on the links below to watch the full webinar or see the presentations.
Core partner links
Got any questions?
If you have any questions about the MyTown Microgrid feasibility study, please click on the button to access our Frequently Asked Questions or email the team on: email@example.com or call: 03 5148 2100
For regular updates on MyTown Microgrid and details on our next free webinar, subscribe to our newsletter or visit us on Facebook @HeyfieldMicrogrid