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Our Energy Sources | Enova Community Energy
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The Beehive Project is a multi-partner effort led by Enova Community Energy to trial a shared community battery and peer-to-peer solar energy trading project involving up to 500 households. The project aims to help transform how neighbourhoods use and share rooftop solar energy and large scale battery storage. The Beehive Project is currently the only project of its kind in Australia.
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The Beehive Project Q&A

Stay tuned! We've got another QA&A session coming soon. Please check back here for more details soon. 
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What is The Beehive Project?

The Beehive Project will allow households, whether they have solar or not, to share and trade rooftop solar between themselves, and access benets from the community battery when it is needed.

The project is a pilot which aims to:

  • enable participating households to get more out of their rooftop solar as a community.
  • test whether the battery can help small and mid-size electricity retailers, like Enova, better ride the impacts of days of very high electricity demand, by accessing the stored energy, and;
  • share the knowledge and learning generated from the project with the wider community and industry

Just imagine:

A battery on every street corner, more and more roof tops with solar, homes powered by stored solar at night and neighbours sharing, selling and buying their solar energy... That’s local energy self-suffciency!

Why did we call it The Beehive Project?

We chose this name because we realised that the project works in a way, like a beehive:

shared-community-battery-The-beesThe Bees

The households producing and consuming solar energy;

shared-community-battery-honeyThe Honey

The solar energy being stored and shared is the honey;

shared-community-battery-honeycombThe Honeycomb

The Enosi trading platform;

shared-community-battery-queenThe Queen Bee

The big battery itself.

It’s like an energy ecosystem, in which the solar energy generated is made even more valuable, by extending its life through storage and sharing.

How will The Beehive Project work?

This project paves the way for distributing solar energy throughout our streets, neighbourhoods and communities - and helping everyone get the most out of the solar energy generated from their rooftop panels.

Instead of unused solar energy going back to the grid, it provides a way of enabling it to continue circulating amongst a community of participants so that more value can be gained by all.

shared-community-battery-diagram-detail

The project involves:

  • The Community battery itself. It's a 1 megawatt (1.07MW) Tesla Megapack battery with 2 megawatt hour (2.14MWh) of capacity, around the size of a shipping container, which can power approximately 115 homes each day, based on an average usage of 19kWh per household);
  • Powertracer, an online peer-to-peer energy web-based trading and sharing platform developed by our partners Enosi;
  • Up to 500 participants, with and without roof top solar panels; and,
  • A research team at the University of Newcastle to track and monitor this pioneering project.

Neighbours sitting on a veranda using laptops to share and trade solarSharing and trading rooftop solar

Participants will log into the online platform, developed by Enosi, which will enable the energy sharing and trading function. Energy usage from solar households will be matched with non-solar households using the platform and assist customers to conduct transactions with each other.  

The platform will also connect the participants to the battery for accessing stored energy when needed, via the battery node. That is, the battery becomes a member of the community within the online platform which other participants can trade with. 

Participants will be able to make their own trades and even select a “set and forget” option to let the platform manage the trades based on their selection for their preferred energy transactions with others in the community. 

*a megawatt is a unit of power equal to one million watts

Who are the project partners?

Enova Community Energy is working with Enosi Australia, the University of Newcastle, and Ausgrid, to deliver the multi-million dollar project

shared-community-battery-enova-icon

Enova Energy

Enova will purchase and deploy a large 1MW battery the size of a shipping container at a location in regional New South Wales, with the support of the energy network provider Ausgrid.

500 Enova customers will participate in the local energy trading platform to share energy between themselves.

 

shared-community-battery-Enosi-icon

Enosi

Enosi will develop the online energy sharing and trading platform, Powertracer, and ensure that our existing and new customers who join the project, are able to effectively and easily participate.

 

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University of Newcastle

University of Newcastle (UoN) is our Knowledge Sharing partner. UoN will collect and analyse data throughout the duration of the pilot program to ensure that learnings and knowledge are captured and shared for the benets of communities and industry across the country.

This innovative project has received funding from the New South Wales Government's Regional Community Energy Fund

 

As a social enterprise Enova invests half its profits in community projects through our non-profit arm. Enova relies on this funding for the battery project and does not pay indirect costs for partners on any Enova project.

How is this project different to other large batteries?

The Beehive Project is different in a number of ways:

  • The battery is not designed to store and discharge power connected to a particular building or group of buildings, or to a wind or solar farm.
  • It’s called a “shared community battery” because the stored energy will be distributed amongst households that don’t have to be geographically located close to the battery, thanks to smart technology.
  • The peer-to-peer trading aspect of the project means every day households have the opportunity to greater access more renewable energy, at a price they can decide on.

 

shared-community-battery-map

Where is the battery?

The battery will be located in Kurri Kurri, in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. Participants in this project can be located anywhere in New South Wales.

I want to participate - how can I get involved?

We’d love you to join us! This project is a pilot with a maximum of 500 participants.

 

Eligibility Criteria

To make it easier to work out if you can participate, we've listed some of the eligibility criteria here:

 

You must live in New South Wales.

  • You must either already be an Enova customer, or be willing to switch your electricity provider to Enova.
  • You must have or be willing to get a smart meter, even if you do not have solar panels.
  • You can participate in this project whether you have solar panels or not.
  • You must understand that this is a pilot project. Financial benefits to you as an energy prosumer or consumer are not guaranteed.
 

Three Easy Steps

We are currently taking registrations for individual households and businesses who are interested in participating in The Beehive Project. If you meet the criteria above, here's what you need to do:

  1. Fill out the registration form by clicking the button below.REGISTER
  2. If you're not already a customer, make the switch to Enova. Switch online here or call our friendly team on (02) 5622 1700
  3. Get your smart meter. You can organise this by calling the friendly Enova Customer Service Team on (02) 5622 1700.

    Even if you don’t have solar panels you will need a smart meter for this project. The smart meter is integral in allowing accurate transactions of what trades have been made between participants on Powertracer.

The Backstory

Enova’s mission is to build stronger communities and transition to 100% renewable energy, and part of achieving that involves encouraging things like residential solar uptake and the adoption of local energy storage solutions such as batteries.

With more than 50 per cent of our customers already with roof top solar (that’s three times the national average), we saw the opportunity to better share the benefits of solar.

Solar panels generate electricity when the sun is high resulting in accumulated generation during the day. Excess unused solar gets fed back into the grid, putting it at the mercy of wholesale energy market prices.

Smart technology that shares renewable energy between households across the grid is a missing piece of the puzzle in the great transition to zero emissions. Enosi’s Powertracer fills this gap, helping to enable localised and cleaner energy solutions. Enosi’s Powertracer fills this gap and by pairing it with a big battery, The Beehive Project is innovating localised and cleaner energy solutions.

Useful information

The Beehive Project is supported by a grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Community Energy Fund.

Enova will work closely with our project partners to review all registrations of interest in order to select the participants.

The battery itself will be owned by Enova Energy. Once the pilot project concludes, all the data from the pilot phase will be collated and analysed with a view to understanding the overall benefits.

Project partners University of Newcastle will be ensuing that the results of the pilot will be publicly available as part of the knowledge sharing principles of the project.

The findings will provide evidence of the viability of a community battery trading model. The results will provide impetus for further innovation and deciding which services to offer our customers that will benefit them and the community at large.

When you are selected to participate in the pilot project, you will receive a welcome pack with all the information needed to get involved and get started.

If you are not selected, we will keep your details on a waiting list for future projects or if we offer a Peer to Peer – Community Battery Trading Service as a product. You are welcome to opt out at any time.

For this pilot project we are limited to 500 participants who are residents of NSW. If you move to a different state during the pilot period, you will have to withdraw from the project.

Media Releases:

March 2020 NSW Government Regional Community Energy Fund – Community Battery Funding Announcement. Read

December 2020 Kurri Kurri NSW announced as the site of the big battery. Read

February 2021 The Beehive Project: We've chosen a Tesla Megapack. Read

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be an Enova customer to participate?

Yes. You can switch to Enova by clicking here.

How do I register?
You can register your interest to participate in this project by clicking here.
 
Do I have to have solar panels to participate in this project?

No. We will recruit 250 households with roof top solar and 250 without. Any household in New South Wales can register their interest to participate, as long as you are willing to become an Enova customer and to have a smart meter.  

A household with solar panels in this project is called a “prosumer” and a household without solar is called a “consumer” - meaning you either produce and consume or just consume electricity. 

 
How do I get a smart meter?
Call Enova’s Customer Service Team (02) 5622 1700 and we will be happy to help you get a smart meter connected. 
 
 
Can renters participate?
Yes!
 
 
Can businesses participate?
Yes. Please follow the standard registration procedureCall our friendly team today on 02 5622 1700 or simply make the switch to Enova online by clicking here 
 
 
What if I move during the pilot project timeframe?
We would hope that you don’t need to move to a different house during the pilot period, however if you do end up moving, we would just update your new address and you would need to be an Enova customer at the new address.  
 
 
What if I am not selected?
If you are not selected for this particular pilot project you will be placed on a waiting list and contacted again for future projects.  
 
 
Will there be more community batteries?
Yes, this is our vision and is dependent on the results of our project and future funding. 
 
 
How does the trading system work?

Peer-to-peer trading allows households to trade their excess solar energy with friends and family they know or the community more broadly.  

The solar and non-solar households who participate in this project will be able to trade solar energy between each other as well as with the big battery.  

The trading will occur via the Powertracer platform that connects all participants and the battery. In this sense the big battery is treated like another ‘peer’ in the system. 

Energy production from solar households will be matched with the usage of non-solar households using Powertracer.  The software will allow customers to set their own trading prices, and trades will be settled on the customers’ bills from Enova Energy. 

 
 
Do I have to do all the trades myself? What if I don’t have time?
You don’t have to actively trade on the Enosi platform. You can be as active as you like or, if you prefer, you can select the “set and forget” mode and the trading will happen for you. We will be running an info session for all participants on how to trade using Powertracer.  
 
 
Why is this called The Beehive Project?
We were looking for a great name that represents what this project is all about. The solar and non-solar households generating and trading solar energy are like busy bees, collecting solar (or the pollen!) and the excess solar is sent back to the battery – which we affectionately refer to as, you guessed it, the Queen Bee! The Enosi web-based platform is kind of like the Hive which helps to link all the ‘cells’.    
 
 
Who owns the battery?
Enova Community Energy owns the battery - thanks to support from the NSW Government Regional Community Energy Fund. 
 
 
What happens to the participants when the pilot project is finished? Can I still trade?
The success of the P2P trading during the pilot period will determine whether or not this part of the project continues. Upon completion of the trading, participants will be reverted back to their original energy rates with Enova. 
 
 
What will happen to the battery when the pilot project is finished?
The battery will continue to be used to test various ways in which a community storage facility can be utilised to support a transitioning energy network towards increasing distributed energy resources (such as rooftop solar).   
 
 
I want a battery on my street. How can I get one?

Our battery projects are currently conducted on a virtual basis, and therefore does not require you to be in a specific location, which means you can take part as long as you are an Enova customer. 

Our vision is to make the community battery a solution to the current restrictions placed on solar home owners and how much solar rooftop generated energy can be exported back into the grid, ensuring that more of the renewable energy from rooftop solar is consumed by the community. 

 
 
What brand battery is it and where is it located?
The battery is a Tesla Megapack and it will be installed at the Ausgrid substation in Heddon Greta, on the outskirts of Kurri Kurri, in regional NSW. It is estimated the battery will be on the ground in September 2021.
 
 
What is the environmental impact of the battery?
Enova underwent a thorough development application with the Cessnock City Council to examine any environmental impact of the battery installation and operation. It was found that the impact of the battery does not have environmental impacts because it is to be installed at a site with no ecological or heritage significance