St Andrews to benefit from energy resilience funding

Published on 10 November 2023

This is an aerial image of the Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre

A new energy back-up system at Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre and Men’s Shed is set to support community resilience and preparedness for future emergency events including bushfires, storms and events causing significant power grid outages.

The State Government this week announced the township of St Andrews was one of several towns within Victoria that received funding for the new back-up energy system as part of its ‘Energy Resilience Solutions’ Program.

The program aims to help Victorian communities that experienced significant and lengthy power outages during the June and October 2021 storms. During these events, some areas of Nillumbik experienced power outages for up to sevent days.

Nillumbik Mayor Ben Ramcharan said the 2021 storm events highlighted how reliant communities were on electricity for everyday essentials, including communication, showering, cooking, drinking water, and power to charge devices.

“Council has already been working with the St Andrews community on the Connected St Andrews project to support their resilience and emergency preparedness,” Cr Ramcharan said.

“Through this project residents developed their vision for the Community Centre and Mens Shed to become an off-grid power hub during emergencies and extended power outages. 

 “We are very thankful to the Department Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) and Ausnet for supporting our community with funding for this important initiative,” he said.

‘The energy back-up system will help those residents bring their vision to life, and provide the community with access to reliable, off-grid energy at a functional community facility during extended power outages as a result of emergency events.

“As an added bonus, the system will also reduce demand for grid-sourced electricity all year round, lowering operational energy costs and emissions.”

The energy back-up system will comprise a 22.5kVA diesel generator, 500L diesel fuel storage tank, 6.5kW additional solar panels and 72kWh battery storage, enabling up to 105 hours of back-up power.

Installation is expected to begin early 2024.

Chair at Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre, Sandy Black, and President of Mens Shed at St Andrews, Steve Jenkinson, said being chosen as part of the DEECA Energy Resilience project was a real win for the St Andrews community.

“This project means that Wadambuk St Andrews Community Centre will be able to perform as an energy hub, giving our community another level of resilience in times of extended power outages,” Sandy Black said.

“The Mens Shed is very pleased that the Government is installing an energy resilient solution for the Community Centre and the Mens Shed, adding to the great work being done on the Connected St Andrews Project,” Steve Jenkinson said.

The energy resilience system will complement other emergency preparedness measures Council has in place that support community resilience, including partnerships with emergency services and Council’s Emergency Management Planning activities.

For more information about emergency planning in Nillumbik, visit the Fire, Flood, Emergency page on our website.