The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced the opening of a new $50 million fund, first announced in the 2020-21 Federal Budget. This fund, known as the Regional Australia Microgrid Pilots Program (RAMPP), is designed to support microgrid projects in regional locations.
Microgrids are small, localised networks that share energy from interconnected small-scale technologies like solar and batteries with small communities.
“Whether it’s maintaining electricity supply during and after emergencies such as bushfires and floods, or improving the reliability and security of power supply in remote communities, this program will showcase the diverse benefits microgrids offer regional Australia.”ARENA CEO Darren Miller
The falling cost of solar, batteries and energy management technology is making them a viable option for more regions that struggle with expensive, polluting and unreliable electricity supplies.
It’s great to see local projects highlighted, like Yackandandah in Victoria’s north-east, which has undertaken preliminary works through the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund.
Recently, rooftop solar uptake passed 60% of households in the Yackandandah Valley, with the next phase of work to focus on building energy storage to capture excess daytime generation to meet the evening peak.
Totally Renewable Yackandandah Inc is now assessing the financial viability of different technologies, including 1-2 MW of battery storage and 5-6 MW of pumped hydro.
The picturesque town has become a microgrid pioneer, installing three systems to distribute energy amongst the local population of nearly 2,000 people.
The new program will provide grants to projects that have already been found to be viable through feasibility studies, with most successful applicants expected to receive between $1 million and $5 million.
Applications for funding through the Regional Australia Microgrid Pilots Program are now open.