Ecovillage a step closer to Australia’s best community-owned energy network

Spring bird life at NararaSpring bird life at Narara

A key element of the Narara Ecovillage’s ‘smart grid’, a $165,000 tap-change transformer, arrived at the village in late April.
According to the Ecovillage Project Director, Mr John Talbott, the arrival heralds the village’s next step towards producing the smartest and cleanest community owned energy network in Australia.
The development of the smart grid, including the purchase of the transformer, has been made possible by a grant of $965,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
The ecovillage’s power will come entirely from solar photovoltaic panels, mounted both on private homes and on community buildings.
The ecovillage’s smart grid will then calculate how much power should be used, and how much should be stored, or returned to the grid.
It will do this by predicting both future demand and the amount of energy that will be produced by the solar panels.
The system will even take into account changing weather conditions like cloudy days and can export surplus energy back to the State-owned grid.
All of this will be made possible by the newly arrived transformer.
Ms Lyndall Parris, ecovillage founder, welcomed the funds.
“We’re so thrilled to have secured the grant from ARENA,” she said.
“The smart grid is a fundamental requirement of our goal to be a ‘leading-edge’ sustainable community and will supply the power needed for normal home use, charging electric vehicles, supporting small businesses and even treating our own water on-site.
“One day we may even be able to sell power to the neighbours,” she added.
ARENA CEO, Mr Ivor Frischknecht, said, “While direct savings in energy costs will benefit the members of the Narara Ecovillage community, the knowledge gained in developing these advanced and cutting edge technologies will benefit many other towns and communities around Australia in moving to a sustainable future.”

Newsletter, May 1
Lyndall Parris, Narara Ecovillage