The vision for Ginninderry is to ‘create a sustainable community of international significance within the nation’s capital.’
In terms of renewable energy this translates into the goal of becoming the world’s first energy positive suburb through the development of an embedded renewable microgrid that generates and supplies all of the suburb’s energy needs from within its own borders and delivers a surplus for the surrounding area.
The Ginninderry microgrid will combine and integrate residential solar and battery storage, commercial solar, small-scale on-site solar farms and precinct-level storage including batteries and pumped hydro.
Key stakeholders for Ginninderry’s microgrid are Riverview Projects (project managers), ACT Government LDA, Infrastructure Planning & Design and Energy Policy, Beast Solutions (energy system consultants), Elton Consulting (community consultation), Content Marketing (content development and marketing).
The SERREE Industry Cluster has supported the Ginninderry Microgrid project by providing Riverview Projects with access to grant funding through SERREE’s current funding agreement with ARENA.
This funding was used to undertake a social research project to explore the uncharted dimension of people’s assumptions, expectations, perceived benefits, reservations and objections towards renewable energy systems and the proposed microgrid.
Social Research Project
The residential energy market is in a state of change. Advances in energy efficient appliances, falling battery storage prices and continued uptake of solar PV are providing householders with more control over the systems that they install and their ongoing cost of energy.
While there is common understanding of the environmental benefits of renewable energy, little research has been conducted to explore the reasons why people are (or aren’t) moving towards renewable energy systems – and more importantly how much they understand or care about where their power is coming from.
Are all of the decisions led by a financial incentive? Are the environmental factors still important in decision making? Or do householders just want to know that they have a reliable source of power?
The Ginninderry Energy Research Team have been exploring such questions and have released their findings in their Householder Attitudes to Residential Renewable Energy Futures report launched at Green Cities 2017 Conference. The report combines existing research and survey data from a number of stakeholder and community workshops undertaken in Canberra through 2016.
The study primarily focused on three scenarios using Ginninderry as an example of a new large-scale residential development and explores householder attitudes towards:
- Solar PV and Battery Storage
- Microgrids (or embedded networks)
- A fully electric suburb
All scenarios highlight the importance of education in making informed decisions about energy systems with marked attitude changes occurring during workshops when presented with alternative energy solutions.
Speaking on behalf of South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence (SERREE), Cluster Manager Craig Hanicek said the report serves as a “potent example of the power of collaboration between Industry, Government and the community to co-create a clean and secure renewable energy powered residential development.”
Click here to access the report