Merriwa Microgrid
Microgrids are small networks of power generation, storage and control technologies that are designed to supply a small group of consumers with electricity while operating independently of the central grid.
Countryside and painted farm silo in Merriwa NSW

Microgrids can help support communities during planned and unplanned outages. They improve electricity reliability by providing a back up power supply. In Merriwa, the microgrid will focus on keeping key services running.

After extensive consultation with the community, Ausgrid has started construction on a microgrid in Merriwa. When complete properties deemed essential by the local community (such as the pharmacy, grocery, fuel providers as well as the RSL and Country Women’s Association to enable them to support the community) will continue to operate during what would normally have been an outage.

The Microgrid generation and storage infrastructure will be located at the Ausgrid Depot and delivered in partnership with Yurika in mid-2024.

What is a microgrid?

What is a microgrid - Scenario 1
What is a microgrid Scenario 2

Community consultation 

Ausgrid asked the Merriwa community about the services that were most important to them.

Ausgrid held two community workshops in Merriwa in November 2022. The participants at the workshop shared their thoughts on the proposal and provided feedback. Ausgrid also invited feedback via online channels.

There will be 28 properties included in the microgrid, such as the pharmacy, grocery and fuel providers.

Community Hub

As a part of the microgrid trial, Ausgrid is including two locations that can operate as ‘Community Hubs’ to support community services and be a central meeting point during an outage. The Merriwa RSL and the Merriwa Country Women’s Association rooms will be powered to provide emergency relief for community members.

The community hub will be able to provide amenities like wi-fi, food and drink facilities, washing machines, refrigeration, charging points etc. and will operate under emergency conditions (in consultation with appropriate emergency service authorities). 

Ausgrid will continue to partner with the Upper Hunter Shire Council and the Merriwa community to identify services that can potentially be included in the community hub.

Project timeline

(Please note: Timeline is indicative and subject to changes.)

Merriwa Microgrid Project Timeline

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a microgrid?

A microgrid is a small network of power generation, storage and control technologies that are designed to supply a small group of consumers with electricity while operating independently of the central grid. 

A microgrid can operate autonomously, supplied by energy sources like solar generation, battery storage and diesel power, when power supply from the main grid is disrupted by extreme weather events or is otherwise unavailable. 

A microgrid is designed to increase the reliability and resilience of the network and the community.

What is being planned for this project?

The first step in this trial is to develop a low voltage connected microgrid at Merriwa, capable of supplying power to identified premises along Bettington Street, in the centre of town during major outages.

The microgrid will include small scale power generation (solar panels and a back-up diesel generator), storage (batteries) and control technologies. The microgrid will be able to operate during planned and unplanned power interruptions – switching on to maintain supply automatically to homes and businesses in the trial area.

It will also include powering two locations that can act as ‘Community Hubs’ to improve Merriwa’s resilience to disruptive events by providing services such as refrigeration, laundry and showering facilities and a central meeting point. These Community Hubs will be at the Merriwa RSL and the Merriwa Country Women’s Association rooms.

What is a Community Hub? 

A Community Hub is a place for the community to come together during an emergency and access essential services – for example charging phones, satellite wi-fi internet, washing, refrigeration and cooking.

A Community Hub is generally located at a large and easily accessible venue like a community hall.

As part of the Merriwa microgrid trial, we have worked with the community to determine that they see value in the Community Hubs and what services they should deliver. We will continue work with local partners to design and run the Community Hub to meet community needs. 

Has Ausgrid chosen the location and the technology for the microgrid? 

Ausgrid has considered a range of possible locations, with a focus on areas where we need to improve system reliability and resilience for customers. Merriwa has been selected as the preferred location because: 

  • the existing network configuration means there is a risk of extended outages to the area 
  • the conditions at our Merriwa Depot are right for this project, with the right amount of space, sunlight and support for an effective trial 
  • our climate assessments show that the Merriwa and Upper Hunter areas will be some of the most impacted by climate change across Ausgrid's system in coming decades. 

The technology is now at a stage that we are confident it will work reliably and cost effectively. 

The microgrid generation and storage infrastructure is being installed at Ausgrid’s Merriwa Depot.

What are the benefits of this project? 

Ausgrid climate impact research for the Upper Hunter shows by 2050 we can expect to see an increase in all types of climate risks such as heat, storms and bushfire.

A microgrid allows Ausgrid to provide a more resilient electricity supply to customers. The microgrid maintains electricity to connected customers, and customers outside the microgrid area can access services provided within the proposed Community Hub, which will be connected to the microgrid.

For more information 

If you would like to contact us, please email the Ausgrid Innovation Program on