Planning Greater Bendigo's Energy Future With Community Help

Image of Energy Grid overlayed on residential houses

An Electricity Map for Greater Bendigo

The City of Greater Bendigo is leading a unique electricity network mapping project to help plan Greater Bendigo’s energy future.

Residents and businesses are invited to get involved so the City can better understand power usage in suburbs and across the region.

This is an innovative pilot project with the City collaborating with the Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4Net), the energy distribution provider Powercor, and Solar Energy Application Lab (SEAL) unit at RMIT University.  The project is hoping it can obtain and use real data to create an electricity demand "map" for Greater Bendigo using the first data model of its kind.

The overarching aim is to provide a better understanding of Greater Bendigo’s existing and future energy needs and to map in greater detail the existing electricity use within each suburb and understand where the region’s energy is under stress.

The City is inviting residents and businesses to provide a copy of a recent electricity bill and to register your consent for the City to access electricity data from Powercor’s Smart Meter portal.

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.

The City’s goal is to reach net zero carbon by 2036 and with help from residents and the business community we can help to plan and improve our local energy system.

Tell us about your power usage

To make this electricity mapping more accurate, we are asking people and businesses across Greater Bendigo, including residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural properties, to tell us about their power usage.

You will be asked to give consent for your details on the bill to be used to access your meter data. This will allow us to accurately measure power usage and see where network improvements could be made. The City will only provide the data to RMIT University for the suburb or town and no individuals or businesses will be identified. An electricity map will be created based on this data and information from Powercor.

Concerned about giving us a copy of your power bill?

The City is bound by the Privacy Act which means we can only use the information for the purpose it was collected for, and only with your consent. We won’t share your information with anyone else unless required by law.

For more information on the project and how your electricity bill will be used, please refer to these Frequently Asked Questions.

The project hopes to identify and evaluate the solar energy potential for Greater Bendigo and to map in more detail the existing electricity use at local area networks.

This will provide a better understanding of Greater Bendigo’s existing and future energy needs and opportunities to develop a valuable local electricity supply and demand systems. Energy use is expected to increase as the city grows, for example, demand for electric vehicles will increase and more homes will switch from gas to electricity.

Greater Bendigo currently imports 99% of its electricity from outside the region with around $200M spent on paying retail electricity bills each year. This money is revenue that is leaving Greater Bendigo’s local economy. By planning for more local generation in the future, a greater share of revenue could potentially be retained in the region to invest in infrastructure and renewable energy.

The electricity system is undergoing significant change at present and is being redesigned to enable customers to have greater individual control of their electricity.

The City has initiated this project to provide community wide leadership, increase awareness and engagement on how consumers use electricity in the future. It will also identify opportunities for improved network management from a community-wide perspective.

RMIT University is the principle research agency that will identify and evaluate the solar potential for Greater Bendigo, analyse data and develop a map covering the use by local area networks. Their preliminary solar potential mapping indicates that all of Greater Bendigo’s buildings could host enough rooftop solar PV systems to generate over five times the amount of electricity we currently use.

The role of Centre for New Energy Technologies (C4Net) as a partner in this project, is to collaborate with Powercor to access large volumes of Powercor energy data and energy statistics and to provide technical input and feedback in relation to the model development.

The RMIT project will identify electricity usage and demand in each local suburb. Currently Powercor has provided broad data across Greater Bendigo’s electricity network, but the RMIT modelling project is relying upon individual meter data to refine and improve the data accuracy for each suburb. This will help capture an electricity map for Greater Bendigo based on electricity bills submitted by the community and businesses from across the municipality.

The electricity system is currently undergoing significant change in energy technology, distribution and supply chains with parts of the system being redesigned to enable individual user’s greater control over their electricity usage and costs.

Powercor supports this project in principle as it is focused on community wide benefits and ways that our local community can have greater control over local generation, storage and use of electricity. As Powercor is principally interested in the distribution network, it has limited control over broader opportunities for community wide benefits.

As the manager of the distribution network for Greater Bendigo, Powercor plays a vital role and supports this project. It has provided a large volume of data for use in this model and the MyEnergy portal which gives the City access to meter data for this project.

Your electricity bill contains information such as your name, address, NMI (national meter identifier) and meter number which enables the City to access your electricity data through the Powercor MyEnergy portal. This will be used to bring together data from different areas of the region. All this information can be attained from any one of your electricity bills.

The City is committed to protecting your privacy and is seeking your consent to access your energy data using your meter number (which appears on your bill). The City will only provide the data to RMIT for the suburb or town and no individuals or businesses will be identified.

To enable us to access your energy data you will need to complete this online form https://cogb.formstack.com/forms/energy_assessment which asks for your consent and a copy of your electricity bill so that we can access your meter data through the Powercor MyEnergy portal.

Your personal information will not be disclosed further without your consent unless required or authorised by law.

Being able to access your meter data through the Powercor MyEnergy portal will provide access to historical electricity data for the last two years. This data is important to help refine and adjust the RMIT modelling of Greater Bendigo’s electricity system. It will allow us to map Greater Bendigo’s electricity use in more detail with a clearer picture for each suburb and local network.

It is important that you submit an electricity bill with your name and address. These details are required to ensure the proper electricity data is collected. However, once the meter data is collected your name and address details will no longer be used in the modelling of the data.

No, only your existing retailer will have access to any billing data.

The project partnership with RMIT and C4Net is due to finish on June 30, 2022.

The electricity system is a complex and largely unknown energy supply system that most of us take for granted. It is currently undergoing significant change in energy technology, distribution and supply chains with opportunities for community members to have greater control in how they generate and use their electricity.

These opportunities include demand management (DM), virtual power plan (VPP), micro grids, virtual energy networks (VEN) etc. The City is working to provide leadership and facilitate these opportunities so that our broader community may benefit from in the future.

The intention is that the mapping outcomes for the region will provide information relevant for electricity generators, distributors and retailers to review their operations.

There is no guarantee that your electricity costs will go down. This project will, however, provide greater awareness and tools to help you better manage your electricity consumption and costs.

The system is currently being redesigned to enable individual user’s greater control over their electricity usage and costs. Irrespective whether you have solar or not, this project aims to provide more information once it has been completed and help residents manage electricity usage better to reduce consumption and costs.

Contact Us

Information on this project or any environment and sustainability work being undertaken by the City:

 

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