The Dunsborough Community Energy project is Australia’s first privately funded Virtual Power Plant based right here in the South West. It is a Community built owned and managed renewable energy facility with the goal of reducing household energy costs and moving toward a 90% renewable energy target across the South West and the rest of Western Australia.
Our aim is to democratize energy – giving power to the people by putting them in charge of their own supply and use of energy. We see this as the future of our energy grid in a big state like WA, particularly for the regions.
A Virtual Power Plant (or VPP) is made up of 1000+ individual household Solar and Battery Redback systems, spread across the South West, sized to meet average household energy needs. The systems will be connected by advanced aggregation and control software developed in Australia and operated in Western Australia.
With 1000 households in the project, the Virtual Power Plant can provide 6.5MW of solar at peak, 9.6GWH of energy per year and displace 7KT of carbon emissions (CO2-e) every year. Building a 90% renewable grid starts with household showing the way and we hope that this project will grow beyond 1000 homes and business and be replicated in other regional area in Western Australia.
Talking about the WHY of any action or project is often the most important place to start.
During the information nights we asked people what was there “WHY” in turning up to hear more about this project. The following responses were most commonly heard.
Our environment is precious to everybody
We want to reduce the impact of climate change
Change the future of energy use for coming generations
We can’t wait for the government to create change
Be a part of a community cause, be a rebel
Being renewable is very important
I want cheaper energy and reduced bills
I don’t want to be dictated to by synergy
Why are we doing this as a community is another important question. The simple answer is that we are better together. Being a large community energy project allows us to negotiate with Western Power, Synergy and regulators as one body. We know one person has no chance, but 1000's have lots of power. Psychologically and literally – we have more power together.
The way this project works allows us to be more inclusive of all residents and businesses. We can help renters, businesses and people who may not have been able to afford these systems without this project. Our Virtual Power Plant model will put Dunsborough on the map globally as being the community that led the way. We live off our tourism, nature and outdoor based activities. This solution does not require any of our wonderful pristine land to be used as we can put this on our existing rooftops. It’s a no brainer. We can change the planet one rooftop at a time.
We have now reached 100 households or businesses who have signed up to the project and now we can form the Not for Profit entity. We are now opening to Busselton, Vasse, Cowaramup, Margaret River and Augusta. We invite people from these areas to contact us to be part of this VPP project. Once each township has 300+ systems operating, they will become their own association.
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