Ausgrid proposes Merriwa for new microgrid trial

Rooftop solar panels on homes with tiled roofs (potential)
Image: Shutterstock

Network operator Ausgrid has selected the town of Merriwa in New South Wales for a trial of a small network of power generation, storage and technologies to deliver more resilient, reliable local power supply.

The Merriwa community will be invited to shape the $3 million microgrid trial, a first for Ausgrid and the Upper Hunter region. The microgrid operates during planned and unplanned power interruptions, maintaining supply quickly and easily without the need for a back-up generator. 

Related article: Transgrid gets $45m funding for Broken Hill mini-grid

The trial could include an innovative “community hub”, which could provide power for washing and phone charging during extended outages. 

Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross said the trial was part of a commitment to building a more resilient energy system across the network. 

“This microgrid trial is all about supporting local communities and businesses during severe weather events,” Gross said. 

“Our climate is changing, so we are changing too. We’re thinking differently about how we can continue to provide for our customers in rural and remote areas. 

“Increasing temperatures mean more extreme weather events, and this in turn increases the risk of unplanned power disruptions—the proposed microgrid will be able to supply parts of the Merriwa town centre, allowing business to continue as normal in these situations.” 

Community members can influence the design of the microgrid and the proposed community hub, which will be a resource for the community during severe weather events like floods and storms. 

“A community hub is a place where the community can come together and access essential services during an emergency—things like device charging, refrigeration and food preparation.” 

“As part of this engagement, we will be asking the community to help us decide what’s included in the community hub, as well as to give us feedback about what services and businesses they would most like to see supplied by the microgrid.” 

Related article: AGL powers almond farm with microgrid and solar farm

“We’re excited to work with our customers and stakeholders to design and deliver a community hub that meets their needs—and we’re asking community members to get involved by registering for our upcoming workshops,” Gross said. 

Workshops will take place in Merriwa and online in late November. Customers can register by visiting the project’s engagement website

The microgrid trial is in its planning stages and is expected to be up and running by early 2024.

Previous articleCallide Power Station offline after equipment failures
Next articleCallide remains offline as urgent repairs underway