The Federal Coalition Government has launched a $50 million program which will help communities across the Parkes electorate access cheaper and more reliable power through microgrids.
The first round of the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund is now open for applications from across Australia, with up to $20 million of grants to be awarded to feasibility studies in the first round.
Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the grants may fund community organisations, electricity distribution businesses and other interested entities across his electorate to undertake feasibility studies.
“Microgrid technology is becoming increasingly cost effective, creating the opportunity for a reliable, low cost, off-grid supply,” Mr Coulton said.
“This is especially useful for customers in remote locations, on the fringe-of-grid, reducing the need for expensive poles and wires.
“Microgrids are stand-alone power systems that can operate independently or maintain a connection to the grid. They are made up of distributed energy resources such as solar photovoltaics and batteries.
“Moving grid-supplied remote customers to a microgrid supply could save hundreds of millions of dollars in costly network maintenance, while also improving reliability.”
Mr Coulton said feasibility studies are the first step towards investing in microgrids, with benefits for individual communities and the grid as a whole.
“Where feasibility studies find that microgrids are economically viable, additional support can be sought from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC),” Mr Coulton said.
Round one applications close on 21 November 2019. Details on how to submit an application can be found at: www.grants.gov.au