Energy company Powercor Australia this week signed a memorandum of understanding with community group Newstead 2021 to provide support for an initiative to make the town the first in Victoria to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy distributed via a community-scale grid.

Under the MOU the energy company will provide Newstead 2021 with technical knowledge including understanding the town’s energy load profile, assessing the impact of local generation on grid stability and reliability, financial modelling and other advice.

The model for the community power supply will incorporate community ownership to keep energy costs down and promote social equity, the government said.

“This is an exciting next step for the Newstead community and I congratulate the local residents who are driving this project,” Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said.

“This is a great initiative that will see Newstead leading the way nationally on renewable energy.”

The Andrews government gave Newstead 2021 a $200,000 grant last year to kick-start the project.