It’s 2030, imagine if…

Mycelia rewrote our relationship with energy. Rather than something that is produced and consumed in gigawatts, energy is now viewed as a human right that sits at the heart of community health and wealth building. As Mycelia Energy Collectives rolled out to over 40 communities across Victoria, including 10 First Nations Corporations, the grid was stabilised, reducing outages by 72% and protecting vulnerable households, community facilities and essential services. Those communities were empowered to establish community-owned energy assets, turning what started as energy savings and reliable supply into the reinvestment of over 15 million dollars into local economies, which was spent with other community owned enterprises, delivering a multiplier effect of $5:1 for every dollar invested.

Summary of solution

Existing energy sharing models favour people that can afford rooftop solar and batteries, and are eligible for government subsidies. Mycelia Energy Collective breaks down the barriers for households and businesses locked out of the rooftop solar and battery revolution by proposing an energy sharing model that's unique in the current virtual power plant marketplace by putting people and local action at the centre of its design. Mycelia Energy Collective, supported by The People's Grid will facilitate, test and validate energy sharing across Collective members that have solar, solar with batteries or neither of these.

The model provides pathways for accessing affordable renewable energy for households and businesses currently locked out because they can't afford to install rooftop solar or those in rental, apartment or unsuitable buildings. Members with energy to share are offered a fair feed-in-tariff, or they can 'pay-it-forward' to subsidise energy bills of vulnerable households most at risk from rising prices. Revenue streams will also be tested as sustainable funding sources for community-based regenerative action to help resource other community initiatives, reduce volunteer fatigue and enabling more participation opportunities for people in on-ground regenerative action.

Why is this solution innovative

Their approach is innovative as it addresses energy inequity and breaks down the stigma and disadvantage experienced by households and businesses unable to install rooftop solar. It also demonstrates the role that businesses can play in generating energy to share in the community, involving them in the solutions for their local places. Energy monitoring and matching is done at 5-minute intervals using The People's Grid 'Real Zero Energy Matching' proprietary software, to enable testing and evaluation of the model, to certify energy as renewable and demonstrate how matched, locally generated and consumed energy produces less waste, less pollution and less grid impacts.  

I think this can be a shining example of equitable environmental action - at a time when some opponents of renewable energy are making criticisms based on equity issues (so it can have a wider benefit as a 'circuit breaker' to those kind of arguments).