Microgrid grants to strengthen regional energy supplies

The Australian Government is delivering affordable, reliable power in regional Australia by speeding up deployment of local microgrids under a new grants program opening today.

The Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has launched the Regional Australia Microgrid Pilots Program (RAMPP), with $50 million of grants available to support viable projects across regional Australia.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said microgrids are a key opportunity to improve the reliability and resilience of electricity supplies in regional communities, particularly in areas prone to natural disasters such as bushfires, cyclones or floods.

“Microgrids are small-scale electricity systems that can coordinate local sources of energy, such as solar panels and battery storage, and innovative technologies like hydrogen, to provide secure and reliable electricity for a local community,” Minister Taylor said.

“Microgrids are a great way to help remote communities switch to renewable energy sources while also cutting energy bills and helping reduce emissions, all while improving the reliability of their electricity supplies. They can support communities which currently rely on diesel-generators for power and backup.

“These grants will support the deployment of viable microgrid projects and help to overcome technical, regulatory and commercial barriers.”

Grants will be awarded from $250,000 to more than $5 million. Most successful projects are expected to receive between $1 million and $5 million.

Those awarded more than $5 million must be able to demonstrate exemplary merit and very broad industry benefit.

The program builds on the Government’s $50.4 million Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund, which has funded 38 feasibility studies to help regional and remote communities determine what microgrid solutions will best suit their needs.

The Government, through ARENA, has previously supported remote microgrid projects to reduce diesel consumption in the Northern Territory, and on Lord Howe Island, Flinders Island, Garden Island and Rottnest Island.

ARENA has also helped fund Horizon Power’s Denham Hydrogen Demonstration Plant, which is the first microgrid system in Australia to integrate hydrogen generation.

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