Sub-project 3: Community Solutions

The need for the entire Alice Springs Future Grid project is broad­ly dri­ven by the actions of the Alice Springs com­mu­ni­ty; par­tic­u­lar­ly res­i­dents’ con­sis­tent enthu­si­asm for rooftop solar. This sub-project recog­nis­es the enor­mous influ­ence that the choic­es of house­holds and local busi­ness­es have on the gen­er­a­tion mix. Bat­ter­ies will play a vital role in sup­port­ing fur­ther renew­able ener­gy pen­e­tra­tion into the Alice Springs grid. 

To devel­op an under­stand­ing of the local appetite to install bat­ter­ies with new, or exist­ing, rooftop solar sys­tems, a whole-of-com­mu­ni­ty sur­vey was con­duct­ed at the start of the Alice Springs Future Grid project. The results will par­tial­ly inform the behav­iour­al study with­in the Mod­el­ling sub-project, help to shape com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment and edu­ca­tion activ­i­ties dur­ing Future Grid, and pro­vide a means of mea­sur­ing the project’s impact when the sur­vey is repeat­ed in 2022

House­holds which meet tech­ni­cal and oth­er project selec­tion cri­te­ria will be offered the oppor­tu­ni­ty to join a Vir­tu­al Pow­er Plant (VPP). The VPP is planned to be the first in the North­ern Ter­ri­to­ry. It will aggre­gate house­hold bat­ter­ies to deliv­er ser­vices for pow­er sys­tem oper­a­tion. The ser­vices and the val­ue of those ser­vices, which the VPP is able to offer to Sys­tem Con­trol, will be explored. This can only be pos­si­ble with strong com­mu­ni­ty par­tic­i­pa­tion, and will be imple­ment­ed in par­al­lel to sub-project 4 (Tar­iff Reform) to test how retail tar­iffs can affect con­sumer behaviour. 

The flag­ship VPP will con­sist of two con­fig­u­ra­tions, with slight­ly dif­fer­ing aims: Future Grid Solar Hub” and Future Grid Solar Con­nect”. The Arid Lands Envi­ron­ment Cen­tre (ALEC) is the project lead and is also respon­si­ble for com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment across the Future Grid project.