Large scale Solar Virtual Power project
Hobsons Bay City Council is taking the lead in generating renewable energy and stimulating the local economy through the roll out of a Virtual Energy Network (VEN) including the installation of new solar panels on more than 50 Council buildings.
The Virtual Power Project provides substantial financial, environmental and community benefits. It will contribute significantly towards not only Council’s, but also the Victorian Government’s, zero net emissions goals.
In the first phase of the project, Council will install 1.7 Megawatts (MW) of new solar panels on the roofs of over 40 Council buildings. The solar panels will connect via a Virtual Energy Network, which is an innovative way to share solar electricity across multiple sites.
Almost all of the new panels have now been installed, with two sites to be finalised before the end of 2022. The VEN will also progressively add sites with existing panels, increasing the future total size of the VEN to 2.2MW. The installations to date are already reducing Council’s emissions and energy costs.
See our progress:
Council’s progress towards delivering its ambitious solar installation and renewable electricity generation program is reported in this regularly updated dashboard.
See the current progress of the VPP
In early March 2022, the Australian Labor Party made an election commitment to install a community battery in Hobsons Bay. The battery could enable more of the benefits of the city’s Virtual Energy Network (VEN) to be shared with the community.
Council is currently planning the second phase of the project and will be looking to the state government to partner with Council to achieve our ambitious goals for the Virtual Power Project.
The benefits of the Hobsons Bay Virtual Power Project include:
- Reduced reliance on non-renewable power, and reduction in greenhouse emissions
- Maximised benefits from solar electricity generated by Council’s panels
- Year on year savings in energy costs redirecting Council’s funds back into community programs
- Stimulus of our local economy through the creation of local jobs (direct and indirect)
The benefits of adding a community battery to the VEN include:
- Increased capacity to give the community access to Council-generated renewable energy, for example through Electric Vehicle charging
- Contributing to increased grid stability.
GOVERNMENT POLICY CONNECTIONS
Hobsons Bay City Council has a strong commitment to addressing climate change and has submitted a Council Pledge under Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2017 to demonstrate our contribution to reducing Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions.
This project will achieve a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, directly supporting the Victorian community to deliver on the Victorian Government’s greenhouse gas emission reduction and renewable energy targets.
There will also be indirect support through grid stabilisation achieved by batteries which will allow further accommodation of renewable energy into the electricity grid.
Relevant Victorian Government policies include:
- Climate Change Act (2017)
- Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy (2021)
- Greenhouse Gas Emission reduction targets from 2005 levels (28-33% by 2025 and 45-50% by 2030)
- Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (50% of Victoria’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030)
The Virtual Power Project connects with the below policies and strategies:
- Victorian Government’s Infrastructure Victoria Strategy 2021-51 recommendations
- Connects with the Climate Change Strategy, which states the Victorian Government legislated goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
- Connects to MAV Strategic Plan 2021-25
Progression of the Virtual Power Project is underpinned by Council’s commitments including:
- Council Plan 2021-25 commitment
- Council Budget allocation
- Response to Climate Change Action Plan (2022)\
Progress of the Virtual Power Project is based on key collaborative partnerships:
- State and federal government Ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs)
- Environmental sustainability sectors, LeadWest
- Local tenants and traders, local sustainability advocates/groups
ADVOCACY ACTION PLAN
The Advocacy Action Plan for the Virtual Power Project includes:
- Meetings and engagement with state government Ministers, MPs and Department representatives
- Publicity across traditional and digital channels
- Funding and grant submissions