Industry News

Coalition commit to microgrid reliability fund for regional and remote communities

By:NSW ERKH. Date: Friday, March 29, 2019.

Coalition commit to microgrid reliability fund for regional and remote communities

Regional and remote communities will benefit from more affordable and reliable power under the Morrison Government's plan to support the installation of feasible microgrids - stand-alone power systems that can maintain a connection to the grid or operate off-grid.

The Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund will support up to 50 off-grid and fringe-of-grid communities to investigate whether establishing a microgrid is cost-effective and whether existing off-grid capabilities can be upgraded with modern technology.

The $50.4 million fund is part of the Government's plan for a stronger economy and will be open to applications from regional and remote communities in every state and territory.

The fund will unlock private sector and community investment in new generation and storage and enable new forms of ownership, taking proposals like the Daintree region project to investment stage.

As the cost of providing off-grid electricity continues to fall, in some cases it will be cheaper to provide off-grid supply rather than maintain and replace the long power lines that connect remote customers to the grid.

Moving some remote customers to off-grid supply could save hundreds of millions of dollars in network costs and reduce bushfire risks. Microgrids will also deliver more reliable supply to remote communities.

Where feasibility studies find that microgrids are economically viable, communities can upgrade existing diesel generation or take advantage of new local generation and storage opportunities. The fund will also guide communities towards additional support, including through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The Morrison Government is taking action to drive down prices by increasing competition and supply in the market, reinforcing the importance of investing in regional and remote communities to ensure future energy supply.

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