Dairy microgrid project step closer

06 Sep, 2018 11:26 AM
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Energy: A feasibility study has been launched to collect energy data from interested parties, including dairy farmers, to model their energy usage and generation.
Costs keep rising and we need to look at anything that can change that.
Energy: A feasibility study has been launched to collect energy data from interested parties, including dairy farmers, to model their energy usage and generation.

The next stage in a project that could see dairy farmers derive income from trading their excess energy production is underway.

A feasibility study has been launched to collect energy data from interested parties, including dairy farmers, to model their energy usage and generation.

The study is the next stage of a project – Latrobe Valley Microgrid – launched earlier this year by LO3 Energy.

The Microgrid project was developed using blockchain-based technology to create a local energy marketplace.

Lo3 director of Australian operations Belinda Kinkead said the latest stage was to recruit participants to provide data about their energy usage and patterns.

The company would use the historical energy consumption data to model the value propositions for customers.

Dairy farmers were identified because the Microgrid concept could help them develop diversified revenue streams.

“If they did have solar panels, because of the rigid consumption profile, during the middle of the day they might be generating a lot of solar and not being able to use it themselves,” she said.

“So that excess could be sold into the local energy marketplace.

“It’s a revenue stream that’s not necessarily linked to the dairy side of the farm and could provide some base income stream."

Ms Kinkead said the big advantage would be from testing changes to distribution or network tariffs.

“If you are buying and consuming energy locally, or mostly within your community, you would be using less infrastructure, there is potential that you pay less network charges,” she said.

If a dairy farmer had solar or battery or a demand-response capability, then there is a value in that to service providers.

“There could be a payment for your asset being used to relieve congestion or by providing greater visibility over exactly what’s happening on the network, it could potentially delay or offset any augmentation needs – that’s where the big savings come in,” she said.

“That savings could be pushed back to people who were providing that benefit."

The Microgrid concept would also allow people who didn’t have solar, or who couldn’t put on solar, to access the energy.

Dairy Australia supports the project.

Its program manager – manufacturing innovation and sustainability Ian Olmstead said dairy farms used large amounts of energy and the project offered an innovative solution to managing energy.

He said the blockchain technology allowed users to make transactions quickly and in a transparent way.

“Costs keep rising and we need to look at anything that can change that,” he said.

Energy: A feasibility study has been launched to collect energy data from interested parties, including dairy farmers, to model their energy usage and generation.

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