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Unlocking microgrid opportunities in regional and remote Australia

5 June 2020

Joint media release with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development The Hon Michael McCormack, and The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians.

Regional and Indigenous communities will benefit from more secure, affordable and reliable energy with the Liberal and Nationals Government supporting feasibility studies into microgrids.

The Government is backing 17 microgrid projects with over $19 million in grant funding under Round One of the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund.

These projects are located across Australia from very remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia and Northern Territory to rural farming communities in Victoria. 

The studies will look at whether establishing a microgrid, or upgrading existing off-grid technologies, would better meet the electricity supply needs of regional and remote communities. 

Microgrids can help reduce electricity bills for regional and remote communities, as well as deliver benefits for the grid as a whole by saving hundreds of millions of dollars in network costs.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said initiatives such as this consolidate regional Australia as a great place to live, work and invest outside metropolitan areas.

“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,” Mr McCormack said. 

“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.”

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the grants are an important step towards unlocking investment in microgrids and improving the technologies that will ensure 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,” Mr Taylor 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.”

A large number of successful projects under Round One of the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund will address energy supply in some of our most remote Indigenous communities. 

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ken Wyatt said we need to look at new ways to ensure energy supply for remote communities. 

“Living remotely means that there’s already increases in costs, which can slow and dampen economic opportunity. Ultimately, we want to see affordable and reliable energy for families and businesses in remote Australia,” Mr Wyatt said. 

This is an important part of our commitment to creating jobs and driving economic growth in our regions.

A full list of successful projects under Round One is available at: https://www.business.gov.au/microgrids.

Media contacts:

Deputy Prime Minister’s office: 02 6277 7520
Minister Taylor’s office:  02 6277 7120
Minister Wyatt’s office: 02 6277 7780