The conversation

The Power Melbourne project will install a network of neighbourhood batteries around the city.

We wanted to hear from the community so we could understand views on neighbourhood batteries and when the time comes, how we can make it easy to switch energy bills to a Power Melbourne plan.

Gathering insights

Between 26 September and 4 November 2022, we gathered insights via an online survey.

We invited questions and provided free text boxes for community to provide feedback to support their answers, and tell us how they’d like to be involved in neighbourhood battery projects.

Who we reached

1328

website visitors

311

online surveys completed

Who we heard from

72 per cent

were residents of City of Melbourne

33 per cent

were participating in their first consultation

94 per cent

responded as individuals

6 per cent

responded as organisations

What we heard

  • 77 per cent of respondents were supportive of a neighbourhood battery in their local area
  • 69 per cent of were strongly supportive
  • 16 per cent of respondents were unsupportive
  • 7 per cent of respondents were unsure and/or wanted more information
  • 89 per cent of respondents agreed that neighbourhood batteries are an important part of the solution to transitioning to more renewable energy.

More than 99 per cent of responses supported the five proposed locations at City of Melbourne properties: Library at The Dock, Boyd Community Hub, Council House 2, Kensington Recreation Centre and Queen Victoria Market.

Hundreds of creative suggestions for future battery locations at public buildings and spaces across the municipality included:

  • libraries
  • community hubs
  • hospitals
  • universities
  • sports facilities
  • shopping centres
  • public housing
  • train stations
  • tram and bus stops
  • flyovers and traffic islands
  • iconic cultural landmarks
  • apartment buildings
  • schools
  • car parks.

A number of respondents proposed their own apartment buildings should host batteries in future.

We asked community what would matter most when considering switching their electricity provider to a renewable energy plan linked to neighbourhood batteries.

Respondents ranked the options in this order:

  1. Price: At least as cheap or cheaper compared to other green plans
  2. Transparency: Guaranteed 100 per cent renewable energy
  3. Confidence: Reliable, stable renewable power for my home or business
  4. Equity: It allows everyone to access renewable energy whether or not they have rooftop solar
  5. Trust: In Council, and in Council’s chosen retail energy partner
  6. Ease: Simple to switch, great customer service.

Questions about neighbourhood batteries and how the Power Melbourne model will work, included:

  • How will this work for renters and residents in apartments with embedded networks?
  • Do the batteries output noise or other types of pollution?
  • Will they be an environmental hazard when needing to be disposed of at its end of life?
  • What are they made out of? Where do the raw materials come from? Where are they manufactured?
  • Is Power Melbourne wholly owned by the City of Melbourne?
  • Will those batteries only power the buildings they are to be installed in or around? For example, the Vic Market will the battery just power the market buildings?

We’ll keep the website updated to address questions which came through the survey, and also provide more information during future phases of community engagement.

We’ve also created some video explainers for the project which you can watch on the City of Melbourne’s YouTube channel.

The feedback included:

Impact

Community feedback provided in this survey has helped us understand priority locations for neighbourhood batteries and will inform our partnership with an energy provider.

Next steps

Council will make a decision about the first locations for demonstration network battery sites, and to tender for a retail partner, in December 2022.

The next phase of engagement starting early 2023 will include place-based neighbourhood conversations to further identify battery host sites in consultation with community.

To learn more or get involved, follow the Power Melbourne Participate page.

Power Melbourne