Ditching diesel in remote indigenous communities; powering dairy farms with manure; powering regional industry with commercial microgrids. And more.
The federal government has revealed the successful applicants from the first round of its $50.4 million Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund, ranging across 17 projects and five states and territories.
The Fund was established by the Morrison government to support feasibility studies for up to 50 off-grid and fringe-of-grid communities and businesses, to look into whether establishing a microgrid, or upgrading existing off-grid technologies would better meet their electricity supply needs.
The 17 Round One winners have been awarded a total of just under $20 million of grant funding to help project proponents to shore up their plans for remote indigenous communities, farmers, regional towns and commercial and industrial businesses.
“Our regional and remote communities need an affordable energy supply they can rely on to ensure local businesses can grow and thrive which means more jobs and more economic activity,” said deputy prime minister Michael McCormack in a statement on Friday.
“We need to be looking at options that will help lower cost of living pressures on families and businesses in not only the cities but in the regions especially as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Australia’s minister for energy and emissions reduction Angus Taylor said the grants were an important step towards unlocking investment in microgrids and improving energy reliability and affordability in regional Australia.
“Microgrid technology is becoming increasingly cost effective, creating the opportunity for a reliable, low cost, off-grid supply to our regional communities and industries,” he said.
“This funding will enable many communities to realise the potential of innovative technologies or distributed energy resources, like solar and batteries, or reduce their reliance on costly diesel generation.
“Lower cost energy is crucial to creating jobs in regional communities.”
The list of successful projects include four in the Northern Territory, one spanning the NT and Western Australia, three each in W.A., Victoria and Queensland, one spanning Queensland and New South Wales, and two in NSW.
Among the NT projects to win funding is the Power and Water Corporation’s ongoing Microgrids Futures Project (SETuP 2.0), which will assess the feasibility of transitioning another 20 remote indigenous communities from either off-grid diesel generation or a fringe-of-grid connection to more reliable microgrid technologies that support higher levels of renewables.
To read the full story on RenewEconomy sister site One Step Off The Grid click here…