Virtual power plant

Hobsons Bay City Council, Victoria, has committed to the goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions for Council by 2020 and for the community by 2030 through the large scale roll out of a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and the installation of new solar panels on more than 40 Council owned and occupied buildings.

The VPP will generate almost 4 megawatts of solar power, enabling Council to share energy from under-utilising solar energy sites with those that require more. In other words, energy goes where it is needed, not just where it is generated.

Mayor Colleen Gates, said, “In a first for a Council in metro Melbourne, this is a bold and innovative way to deliver cutting edge technology and generate real action in addressing the impacts of climate change.”

The solar energy system will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 4000 tonnes per annum, or up to 55 percent of Council’s direct emissions over the coming two years, which is equivalent to taking almost 600 homes off the grid.

The VPP also enables Council to install systems on tenanted buildings, with both Council and the tenant benefiting financially from the investment. 

Tenants will have the ability to purchase solar energy at a discounted rate providing both financial and environmental benefits.

“Our solar project has been developed in response to the community feedback we received through our Hobsons Bay 2030 Community Vision.

Importantly, the project has longer term opportunities for the community to participate in what would become a Hobsons Bay Community Solar network. This could enable anyone to opt-in to be a producer of energy, a user of energy, or both.

“I’m really pleased that we will be able to share the benefits of this project with community groups, sports clubs and other tenants of our buildings – not only from a carbon emission reduction perspective but also in helping them save costs.”