Brookfield Energy Australia is to receive $442,000 from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) towards a $1.1 million initial study into the possibility of the new Huntlee residential development being built off-the-grid and powered by renewable energy.

Huntlee, to be developed by the LWP Property Group, will be the first new town in the Hunter Valley in 50 years and will house 21,000 residents in 7,500 homes. It will be situated at the north-western end of the Hunter Expressway, bordered by the suburbs of Branxton and North Rothbury.

The study will investigate the feasibility of creating an innovative, controlled microgrid that integrates and controls central generation with home energy systems.

If the developers decide to proceed without a grid connection, it could set a precedent for residential developments, potentially accelerating the uptake of renewables in Australia.

Brookfield will address some of the current barriers to the take up of microgrids in Australian residential developments and will share key insights about overcoming these barriers with the energy and development industries.