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 June 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
MyTown Explained: The technical and economic opportunities and challenges of a community microgrid
As the project enters its last three months, MyTown Explained aims to help the Heyfield community navigate the results of the feasibility study by unpacking its context, assumptions and methodology used by the technical team to investigate the viability of a town-scale microgrid from a technical, economic and regulatory perspective.
Researchers Dr.Soheil Mohseni and Heather Smith present the webinar that accompanies Report 4.2, The Detailed Feasibility Analysis Results.
You can watch it here
Watch the MyTown Film here
To capture the journey the Heyfield community has been on throughout the MyTown project and to hear the stories of the residents, business owners and community leaders, we decided to make a short film about it.
You can watch it here.
MyTown Microgrid Data Journey and Insights
In our recent webinar, Tim McCoy, Program Manager of project partner Wattwatchers, presents the data being captured by the energy monitors installed in and around Heyfield and takes the audience on a journey from My Home to MyTown.
Looking at patterns of usage and generation, Tim asks what community energy opportunities lie in the data.
To view the webinar and the presentation slides, simply click on the links below.
Want to know more?
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?
Microgrid vs The Grid
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
Murray Hogarth of MyTown project partner Wattwatchers, makes the case for The Grid.
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.
'Household Solar and Total Energy Consumption'
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.
Outputs from Phase 2
Core partner links
This report is the product of an initial techno-economic feasibility study for the microgrid. It aims to guide the project team and community in which local energy solutions should be the subject of more detailed technical and costing analysis.
This report provides the foundation for further analysis of local energy options, to see whether options meet community aspirations, and are feasible, viable, and desirable. It also covers the process used to arrive at these options. It provides a rough assessment of each option to identify those that could play a significant role in the project and provides more detailed parameters for potentially significant options. Lastly it aims to provide guidance for future communities on how to identify options suitable for their own circumstances.
This report shows potential boundaries for a microgrid in Heyfield and was needed in order to conduct a feasibility study for the microgrid itself.
This document summarises the community engagement activities in the second year of the project with a brief review of first year’s initiatives and provides some lessons learnt for other communities. It should be reviewed alongside the other relevant project documents and reports.
This document is the updated report on the summary of devices deployed by customer and location type and a summary of the data collected so far from the Heyfield community.
The key lessons learned include being conservative and realistic about the number of devices and time required to install them while installing devices as early as possible considering community engagement and lead times. It was also identified that steps to validate and cross check survey data should be inserted in the data journey as early as possible and that a plan for sites that may require multiple devices where solar is installed on a separate building or structure.
The success of the deployment and the data collected serves as an important anchor for “bottom-up” modelling of the community once a sufficient duration of quality data is available, by providing the specific sample of customers and energy use across the potential boundaries of the Microgrid or community energy solution.
Heyfield setting a microgrid trend, Latrobe Valley Express 2nd July 2020
Empowering Towns - Gippslandia, 10th December 2020
Heyfield community embraces innovative microgrid project - Gippsland Times, 1st March 2021
MyTown Microgrid: establishing a community model for sustainable energy Sustainability Matters, 26th February 2021
The big microgrid feasibility study in the inspirational small town Gippsland Times, 15th December 2022
Marking end of the MyTown Microgrid project ,Gippsland Times 7th June 2023
The Beta version of the Decision Support Tool (DST) presented here showcases the structure of the tool developed to support communities in the early stages of decision making about local energy systems.
Outputs from Phase 3
This report provides typical load and sub-load profiles for derived from energy monitoring devices in Heyfield. The load profiles provide information about the average electricity consumption patterns of the community, including peak loads and low energy usage times. These can be scaled to provide load profiles for typical homes. The derived load profiles are available as a resource for other communities and have been used to analyse local energy solutions in Heyfield, in particular the business cases for load flexibility, community batteries, and energy efficiency upgrades.
The datasets in this workbook provide seasonal-mean daily (24-hour) load profiles for residential customers in Heyfield, Victoria, derived from 107 Wattwatchers devices installed in 96 houses in Heyfield. The data includes information on energy consumption from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 with hourly resolution.
This report describes the economic potential of residential load flexibility for Heyfield stakeholders, including solar and non-solar householders, energy retailers, the network business, and the supporting technologies for implementation. It summarises the findings obtained from modelling load shifting scenarios for key flexible loads.
This report outlines the economic potential of neighbourhood batteries for Heyfield stakeholders, including solar and non-solar householders, energy retailers, and the network business. It summarises the findings from modelling community battery scenarios for a residential feeder in Heyfield and at a commercial premise (the pub).
This report is complementary to the economic analysis of neighbourhood batteries in Heyfield. It evaluates the technical feasibility of integrating batteries on the selected low-voltage feeders. Specifically, it evaluates the potential of neighbourhood batteries to support the distribution grid and increase the amount of solar which can be added to the system without violating the limits of the distribution grid.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 03 5148 2100