Thanks to everyone who provided their feedback for the second stage of our ‘Fast tracking neighbourhood batteries’ consultation. Over the past couple of months, we have been reviewing your feedback and have summarised our findings in this report.

To find out more information about this project and what we asked the community, head to the Stage 2 project background section at the bottom of this page.

What we heard

We heard from a variety of people across the Cities of Yarra, Melbourne and Port Phillip in a number of different ways, including:

  • 280 conversations across 14 pop-up events
  • 193 responses received through the online survey
  • 25 community champions participated in deep-dive discussions, helped promote the project, and hosted seven conversations in which 48 people participated.

Key findings

Next steps

The views, preferences, and ideas we heard from the Yarra community, together with the technical analysis and feasibility study, will be factored into the planning and development of any future neighbourhood batteries.

This project received Victorian Government funding for community engagement, technical assessments, and battery project design work. Further funding will be required for installation of future neighbourhood batteries.

Stage 2 consultation

Stage 2 consultation

The three Councils (City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip and City of Yarra) have been working with the Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF) to identify potential locations from a technical perspective for future neighbourhood batteries.

Across the three councils, we have identified a number of areas for further assessment. We selected these locations because of their potential to generate high levels of solar energy and use the energy the battery would store.

Potential areas identified in Yarra

Take a look at the areas which have been identified as having the potential to house a neighbourhood battery within Yarra.

Potential areas identified across the 3 municipalities

You can explore these areas (which we've shaded in green) by zooming in on the map below.

What did we want to find out?

During the second round of engagement we asked residents, businesses, workers, and visitors to these areas what they think about possibly having a neighbourhood battery in their community, the kinds of benefits they want to see and ideas for specific locations.

Participants were able to provide feedback either by completing our online survey before 9am on Monday 7 August 2023 and also by speaking to us in person at one of our pop-up events.

To view the pop up locations being held within the other 2 city councils, head to City of Port Phillip and City of Melbourne's Your Say pages.

Different neighbourhood battery models and their benefits

Neighbourhood batteries can be designed to operate in a range of different ways. Different approaches have different benefits, opportunities and challenges. There are four overarching types of operating models, each with overlapping benefits and opportunities.
  • Solar sponge

    Prioritises solar uptake and emissions reduction by absorbing excess solar produced during the day and releasing the stored energy into the network at scheduled times. This helps support the uptake and sharing of local renewable energy.

  • Financially focused

    Operated to release energy to the grid when it is most profitable, with the financial value returned to the community via retail energy plans, dividends, community funds, or similar. This can help reduce energy costs for the community and deliver benefits to the wider energy system.

  • Network services-based

    Prioritises providing resilience to the network, residents and businesses.

    They help avoid the need for costly network upgrades, reducing network charges for all energy users.

  • Community services-based

    May include a diversity of services, depending on the objective, such as enhanced energy security, electric vehicle charging, and community resilience.

Stage 1 findings

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Stage 1 engagement by completing the survey, dropping a pin on our interactive map or attending one of our in-person events. Across the three council areas involved in this partnership project with the Victorian Government (City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip and City of Yarra), we heard from a total of 800 people.

Throughout the engagement, the community shared with us their strong support for renewable energy and support for neighbourhood batteries being part of the solution.

While we heard from many participants with solar, we also heard from those who cannot have solar for various reasons. Both groups agreed on the importance of increasing access to renewable energy for those that cannot readily access or afford it.

Most participants were supportive of having a neighbourhood battery in their local area. For those with concerns such as maintenance, safety and long-term viability, there was a genuine interest and willingness to learn more.

The team has drawn on the stage one engagement findings to progress their work around identifying potential areas for future neighbourhood battery projects.

Read the full stage one engagement report.

Project background and Stage 1

In partnership with the Victorian Government, we’re collaborating with the Cities of Melbourne and Port Phillip to understand ways we can fast-track neighbourhood batteries in inner metropolitan Melbourne so that more people can access solar energy.

What is a neighbourhood battery?

Neighbourhood batteries ‘soak up’ solar from nearby homes and businesses, and like a household battery, store this energy to be used by the neighbourhood later in the evening. This means that those in the community who don't have their own solar panels are able to benefit from this shared resource.

Last year, Yarra's Fitzory North became the home to the first inner-urban community battery in Australia. Delivered by the Yarra Energy Foundation, this battery has enabled consumers to store and redistribute excess solar energy from local roofs. This increases the clean energy on the local energy network which can be used by people who have previously been unable to access renewable energy, such as renters, apartment dwellers and small businesses.

You can read more about neighbourhood batteries, how they work and what problems they solve by checking out our FAQs on this page.

Our vision for neighbourhood batteries in Yarra

We want to tackle the challenge that many of our residents face when it comes to being able to access renewable energy. Facilitating the creation of more neighbourhood batteries in Yarra is one way in which we will be able to assist our community to increase the amount of renewable energy in their area, and use less fossil fuels.

To help build this vision and understand the opportunities and concerns, we needed to hear from you!

Become a Community Champion

In the first stage of the consultation we recruited members of the community who are passionate about neighbourhood batteries as well as people who might not know much about neighbourhood batteries or have concerns about them, to nominate themselves to become a Neighbourhood Battery Community Champion. Find out more here.

Stage 1 FAQs