Ballarat’s goal to be Australia’s first fully renewable region

Aerial shot of suburban homes in Ballarat suburb with blue sky overhead
Ballarat, Victoria (Image: Shutterstock)

The Committee for Ballarat has launched the Ballarat Energy Network’s first pilot project, the Ballarat West Employment Zone (BWEZ) Distributed Energy Project, with the aim of becoming Australia’s first regional city to be powered by 100% locally generated renewable energy.

Related article: Microgrid technology powers WA town with 100% renewables

Together with more than 20 of Ballarat’s largest businesses and industries, Committee for Ballarat will work with AusNet/Mondo on a project that will determine the technical feasibility and commercial viability for an innovative, local distribution energy network.

The Launch will involve an introduction to the project and the collaboration of key stakeholders whose work could unlock the potential of a new energy future for Ballarat and the region.

The project will initially be focused on Commercial and Industrial (C&I) businesses in and around the Ballarat West Employment Zone (BWEZ) and include some of our region’s largest energy consumers, including McCain Foods, Haymes Paint, Grampians Health Services, MaxiTRANS, Bartletts, Luv-a-Duck, UGL and more.

Committee for Ballarat CEO Michael Poulton said, “In Ballarat we have rooftop solar and significant wind on our doorstep to generate renewable energy that could be shared and distributed within our community and build our regional energy resilience.

“If we share local energy generation using smart metering and flexible management, store it for when needed and trade the excess, we will create a new decentralised network model.

“Decentralised networks are based on local generation and distribution and will help deliver lower costs to local consumers, strengthen energy resilience within our community and reduce our carbon emissions,” Poulton said.

Related article: Renewables make up almost 40% of Australia’s electricity

AusNet general manager for distributed energy Dhammika Adihetty said, “AusNet is pleased to partner with Committee for Ballarat and local businesses to develop this pioneering concept. We look forward to working with the Ballarat Energy Network (BEN) to help them achieve their vision of 100% local generated renewable energy.”

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