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Energy microgrid gets a boost in Alice Springs

14 August 2020

A project that will boost renewable energy generation in Alice Springs and deliver reliable power to nearby remote towns has received a funding injection from the Morrison Government.

The Alice Springs Future Grid project, led by Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, aims to overcome barriers to generating renewable energy in the local electricity network and bring security and reliability to the grid for the benefit of 30,000 residents in Alice Springs and communities up to 130 kilometres away.

The project will focus heavily on batteries to address technical, regulatory, social and economic challenges to improve the town’s isolated grid.

The Government is providing $2.17 million toward the project through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), with the total project cost expected to be $9.3 million.

This funding is in addition to the $3.19 million in funding awarded to the project as part of the Australian Government’s $50 million Regional and Remote Communities Microgrid Fund.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Government’s support will help address system security and reliability issues in Alice Springs and surrounding communities.

“Alice Springs has long battled the energy challenges that come with being a remote Australian town and the Government is committed to ensuring our regional communities have access to an affordable energy supply they can rely on,” Minister Taylor said.

“Affordable and reliable power will help lower cost of living pressures on families, and ensure local businesses can grow and thrive, which means more jobs and more economic activity. 

“Despite having a wealth of solar resources, Alice Springs has not been able to take advantage of this. Through this project and with the Government’s support, we hope to see that change.

“Not only will this project lead to increased renewable energy adoption in Alice Springs, it will offer lessons for other remote locations facing similar energy challenges.

“Geography shouldn’t be a barrier to keeping the lights on and access to affordable power in remote areas of our country which is why we are investing in the energy future of Alice Springs.”

Senator for Northern Territory Sam McMahon welcomed the funding commitment.

“Renewables present many challenges for isolated towns and communities in the Northern Territory,” Senator McMahon said.

“Alice Springs has for some time suffered from reliability issues in the power grid. The addition of these batteries to the existing grid will change this.

“This project is a very welcome one because it will address these problems.”

The project will consist of a number of sub-projects, including: 

  • large-scale battery deployment to support isolated commercial microgrid operation;
  • an aggregated residential battery trial for up to 50 customers; and
  • tariff reforms to incentivise battery ownership for customers with Solar PV.

The Government’s Regional and Remote Communities Microgrid Fund supports feasibility studies into the deployment of microgrid technologies to unlock investment in more reliable, secure and cost-effective energy supply options for regional and remote communities in Australia.

This is an important part of the Government’s commitment to creating jobs and driving economic growth in our regions, and ensuring all Australians get a fair deal on energy. 

Media contact:

Minister Taylor's office: 02 6277 7120