Grid project aims to defuse power spikes

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More power to you: Peter Houghton out the front of the Rye Hotel. Picture Supplied

WHILE last week’s heatwave caused a spike in the use of air-conditioners and put extra pressure on the state’s power supply, some Mornington Peninsula businesses helped out by supporting the new community grid project.

This enables them to receive rebates for voluntarily reducing or delaying their call on power until the surge in demand eases. It frees up capacity for other less-flexible users saving them money.

The Rye Hotel, Hotel Sorrento and the Peninsula Hot Springs are among the first to sign on to the project that aims to deliver a more reliable power supply during peak times while they take up other forms of energy, such as PV solar or batteries.

A community grid project has also been launched at the Eco Living Display Centre, The Briars, Mt Martha.

The overall project will roll out in November. Households, small businesses and community organisations on the southern Mornington Peninsula – from Safety Beach across to Point Leo, Flinders and Portsea – will receive rebates and inducements to help them reduce or shift their electricity use voluntarily or through the use of energy smart systems.

Demand on the peninsula peaks on a handful of hot days in the holidays when the population doubles and everyone turns on their air-conditioners. On Thursday and Friday last week – when the thermometer topped 45 degrees – there was a risk of power failure and blackouts.

The peninsula’s electricity provider, United Energy, can signal requests to customers to reduce their power use through off-peak and smart metering.

The community grid project is a partnership between United Energy, Mornington Peninsula Shire and technology company GreenSync. It is supported by the state government’s New Energy Jobs Fund.

GreenSync’s Jessica Mitchell said support for the project would help United Energy avoid spending $30 million on a transmission line from Hastings to Rosebud.

“These innovative technology options deliver the same level of service as the traditional poles and wires network, but offer the added benefits of environmental sustainability and improved cost efficiency over the longer term,” Ms Mitchell said.

The Rye Hotel’s Peter Houghton said he was thrilled to be among the first businesses on the peninsula to sign on to the project.

“Programs like this allow the whole community to benefit without the worry of ongoing or increased costs of more infrastructure,” he said. “I would certainly encourage everyone to get involved in the community grid project – it’s the way of the future.”

Just before Christmas the hotel installed electric vehicle charging stations, including two spots for Teslas and one for all other vehicles.

Mornington Peninsula mayor Cr Bryan Payne said the shire supported the community grid project as it “works towards assisting the community to respond to climate change”.

“It aligns well with the shire’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2021,” he said.

Residents can register their interest on the community grid project website and go into a draw to win one of three Flex home energy monitors and $500 towards solar or a battery installation at their homes.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 23 January 2018

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