A CENTRAL Victorian town could help to develop better energy supply in rural Australia, as it takes part in a study about the potential of new technology.
Tarnagulla will host a three-year feasibility study into microgrid technology, together with Donald, which will seek to find out whether this could be a better way of supplying energy to towns such as theirs.
Now-disbanded Tarnagulla Alternative Energy Group president Linda Jungwirth said regular blackouts, both planned and unplanned were a feature of town life, while its median age of about 67 meant its residents were particularly vulnerable to heat.
Ms Jungwirth said the town's Community Resilience Action Plan completed several years ago had been key to helping Tarnagulla residents identify reliable energy as a key issue for the town.
She said the amazing community uptake on the resilience plan had been a key reason Tarnagulla was chosen for the microgrid feasibility study.
Ms Jungwirth said it was brilliant that the community's investment in its future had led on to further work, from outside Tarnagulla.
Project lead Centre for New Energy Technology (C4NET) chief executive James Seymour said the study would try to match the changing needs of small communities with the potential of microgrid technology.
He said the study would be a deep dive into Donald and Tarnagulla, to find out whether rural towns' energy needs needed to be solved on a bespoke basis, or otherwise.
Mr Seymour said the microgrid technology meant suppliers could create an island of a small part of the network, allowing it to be self-sufficient.
He said it was normally most efficient to create an area that could be islanded on occasion, if the network's upstream supply was down.
Mr Seymour said the study's two key aspects were finding out each community's individual needs, as well as the technical challenges existing around electricity supply.
C4Net will work in conjunction with the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, supplier Powercor and energy business Ovida, but the study will be primarily conducted by academics from partner universities.
Residents have the chance to attend a Tarnagulla community forum, on March 3, from 10am-12pm, at the Tarnagulla Public Hall. A forum will also run in Donald.
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