Hobsons Bay unveils VPP plan on journey to zero net emissions

A Melbourne council is rolling out a virtual power plant (VPP) and putting solar panels on 40 buildings to help it achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions.

Hobsons Bay City Council says the VPP and the large-scale photovoltaic panel installation (generating four megawatts) will reduce the council’s direct greenhouse gas emissions over the next two years by 55 percent, or about 4000 tonnes a year.

A virtual power plant is a network of solar power and battery systems installed at homes and businesses and coordinated by a central control software system. During periods of peak demand, the system can supply the mains grid with battery power.

Hobsons Bay Mayor Colleen Gates said: “This is a first for a council in metro Melbourne … [and] a bold and innovative way to deliver cutting edge technology and generate real action in addressing the impacts of climate change”.

Council says the VPP will also enable it to install systems on its tenanted buildings, with the tenant having the option to buy solar electricity at a cheaper rate than mains grid supply.

Public consultations will begin in coming months to enable Hobsons Bay communities to have a say in the design of the VPP model.