Community battery finally installed in bushfire-prone Mallacoota

cuttin ribbon battery project

Victorian distribution network company AusNer Services has installed the first in a series of grid connected batteries in Gippsland in the state’s south-east, as part of a state government-backed plan to improve energy services in bushfire prone regions.

The 1MWh battery energy storage system, or BESS, was installed in Mallacoota, a town at the end of a 240km line from Bairnsdale that often suffered from outages caused by storms, vegetation or wildlife and had been caught up in the bushfires of the 2019/2020 Black Summer.

AusNet said the newly installed lithium-ion BESS had the potential to power 1,000 average homes for roughly two hours, and up to one day when combined with a generator. All told, it is expected to improve the town’s power reliability by up to 90%.

AusNet said this week that it had contributed $7.5 million for the Mallacoota project, which formed part of the Victorian government’s 2021/22 budget spend on enhancing the state’s energy security and lowering powerline-related bushfire risk.

“Improving energy resilience for the communities we serve, while keeping costs down for Victorians is critical in delivering the best experience for our customers,” said Derek Jayasuriya, principal engineer at AusNet Services.

“This innovative solution strikes the right balance, and we are very pleased to be here in Mallacoota today with the community who will be among the first to benefit from this new technology.”