This week BCG has the privilege of turning on the first micro grid for the region, as part of the Victorian state government Microgrid Demonstration Initiative (MDI).
This means that electricity generated by the 51 kilowatt solar system covering the BCG offices in Birchip, can now be used on site, stored in the 137 kW battery unit for when it is needed, and/or added to the national electricity grid.
BCG business development and innovations manager, Cameron Taylor, said the aim of this demonstration microgrid project was to highlight the opportunities of new technologies to the agricultural industry and rural communities.
"The aim is to showcase the use of energy storage in practice and the complementary technologies for a microgrid," Mr Taylor said.
A microgrid, put in simple terms, is smaller version of the main national grid, Tom Kuiper from Walnut Energy said.
Walnut Energy along with SwitchDin and Wade's Horsham, have been part of the project to get the microgrid up and running.
"A microgrid consists of electricity generation sources, a transmission system to move power and often there is also some way of storing the power," Mr Kuiper said.
"However, there is not just one version of a microgrid, each and every one is customised for whatever it needs to be able to do."
The whole system is controlled by an energy management system (EMS).
"The EMS allows for interaction between the different components in the micro grid and also between the microgrid and the wider national grid," Mr Kuiper said.
While the BCG microgrid is a relatively small system, it is the same system as a large grid and could be expanded.
"What this project allows us to do is create a demonstration microgrid to show what it can do. We can expand on the system in the future by adding additional power generation options and more batteries if required or desired," Mr Kuiper said.
When it comes to technology BCG has been looking at three different components - connectivity, capability and trust.
"This project builds on the capability component of BCG's philosophy around technology. We are aiming to increase industry and grower's capability in applying technology on farm," Mr Taylor said.
"During 2019 there will be opportunities to visit the BCG microgrid and also hear from experts in the field."
Keep an eye out for events related in the BCG microgrid in the coming season.
If you would like to know more about this project, please contact the BCG office on 03 5492 2787.