NSW Regional Community Energy Project Funding Winners Announced

NSW Regional Community Energy Fund grants

Image: UNSW

The Berejiklian Government has announced recipients sharing in more than $15 million in grants for community energy projects in regional areas across New South Wales.

Energy Minister Matt Kean said seven projects will be supported by the Regional Community Energy Fund, which provides grants to community energy projects that create innovative and/or dispatchable renewable energy and benefit the local community.

“These grants will help regional communities right across NSW take control of their energy bills and benefit from the economic opportunities presented by changes in our energy system,” stated Minister Kean.

The winning projects are:

Recipient Project Title Primary technology and capability Closest town
Byron Bay Solar Farm Holdings Byron Bay Solar Farm + Battery Storage Facility 5 MW Solar PV
5 MW / 10MWh battery
Ewingsdale
Energise Gloucester Gloucester Community Solar Farm 0.5 MW Solar PV Gloucester
Community Energy for Goulburn Goulburn Community Dispatchable Solar Farm 1.2 MW Solar PV
0.4 MW / 0.8MWh battery
Goulburn
Pingala – Community Renewables for Sydney Haystack Solar Garden 1 MW Solar PV Grong Grong
Manilla Community Renewable Energy Manilla Community Solar 4.5MW Solar PV
4.5 MW / 4.5MWh battery
2 MW /17MWh hydrogen energy storage system
Manilla
ITP-NHT DevCo Orange Community Renewable Energy Park 5 MW Solar PV
Up to 5 MW / 5 MWh battery
Orange
Enova Community Energy Ltd Shared Community Battery Scheme 1 MW / 2MWh battery Regional NSW

“World- First” Application of UNSW Hydrogen Storage Technology

One of the projects that will generate a lot of interest is Manilla Community Solar. We first mentioned this community-owned solar energy venture back in December last year. At the time, there was mention of a battery storage system but not the capacity, nor the hydrogen aspect.

$3.5 million has been awarded to the Manilla Solar Project under RCEF, which will now also incorporate a hydrogen storage system called H2Store developed by researchers at UNSW’s School of Chemical Engineering.

“The H2Store technology is a compact and transportable hydrogen storage solution,” said UNSW’s Professor Aguey-Zinsou. “It’s an effective way to store and generate renewable energy, mitigate the fluctuation of renewable generation and increase confidence in the security of supply.”

UNSW states the “solid-state hydrogen technology” will be installed to store hydrogen in 20-foot containers with a collective energy density of 17MWh.

It’s expected Manilla Solar Project will start construction in the latter half of this year and be operational early 2021, and the storage component will be installed during next year.

“Hydrogen has the potential to transform our economy and energy mix,” said Minister Kean. ” World leading green hydrogen initiatives like the Manilla Community Solar project will play a critical role in developing this technology.”

As for hydrogen achieving what Minister Kean believes it could for Australia, SQ’s Ronald has had a bit to say about that.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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