Planning Greater Bendigo's energy future with community help

The City of Greater Bendigo is leading a unique electricity network mapping project to better understand power usage in suburbs and townships across the region and help plan Greater Bendigo’s Energy Future.

This is an innovative City-led pilot project in collaboration with the Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4Net), energy distribution provider Powercor and Solar Energy Application Lab (SEAL) unit at RMIT University.

The project’s aim is to obtain and use real data to create an electricity demand map for Greater Bendigo, which would be the first model of its kind using data in this way.

It is hoped it can help provide a better understanding of the region’s existing and future energy needs, including areas where electricity usage is under stress.

The City is inviting residents and businesses to get involved in the project and provide a copy of a recent electricity bill. Those participating are asked to register consent for the City to access electricity data from Powercor’s Smart Meter portal.

City Director Health and Wellbeing Vicky Mason said the way the community used and created energy was changing and the distribution network needed to adapt too.

“The electricity system is undergoing significant changes in energy technology and many community members are seeking opportunities to have greater control in how they generate, store and use electricity,” Ms Mason said.

“Energy use is expected to increase as our population grows and some parts of our network are under more stress at certain times when people need more power.

“Greater Bendigo currently imports 99 per cent of its electricity from outside of the region and residents spend collectively around $200M on electricity bills - that’s revenue leaving our local economy.

“Mapping the network with more detailed knowledge on how energy is used in different suburbs will help us understand the region’s existing and future energy needs and see where opportunities lie at a local level, particularly with solar energy and future storage options.

“For example, RMIT University’s initial work reveals buildings in Bendigo could host enough rooftop solar PV systems to generate over five times the amount of electricity we currently use.

“To make this electricity mapping more accurate, we are inviting people from across Greater Bendigo with residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural properties to provide a copy of a recent power bill and give consent for the City to access their meter data, which stores data from the past two years.

“This will allow us to accurately measure power usage using data, see where network improvements could be made and plan Bendigo’s energy future.

“The City is committed to protecting your privacy and will only provide the de-identified energy data to SEAL at RMIT University for the suburb or town. No individual names or businesses will be identified. An electricity map will be created based on this data.

“Our goal is to reach net zero carbon for Greater Bendigo by 2036. With help from residents and the business community, we can plan and improve our local energy system.”

For more information on this project and to submit an electricity bill, please visit: https://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/energy-map

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