ARENA launches $50 million microgrid pilot project

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched a six-year programme to support the increased deployment of microgrid projects.

ARENA is investing AUS$50 million (US$36 million) to enhance grid resiliency and reliability as part of the Regional Australia Microgrid Pilots Programme.

The pilot will demonstrate how technical, regulatory and commercial barriers to microgrid deployments can be addressed.

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The pilot is part of the Government’s AUS$50.4 million (US$36.3 million) Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund (RRCRF) which is funding feasibility studies to assess how the rollout of microgrids can help rural communities accelerate the energy transition whilst addressing energy poverty and access.

Projects will include the deployment of solar energy, energy storage, hydrogen and diesel generators to develop a system that can be connected with the grid or operated as a standalone network.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller, said: “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 programme will showcase the diverse benefits microgrids offer regional Australia.”

“With feasibility studies funded in every state, RRCRF is showing us that microgrids provide an exciting opportunity to integrate renewables into regional communities.”

ARENA has supported the deployment of several microgrid projects across Australia including SETuP in the Northern Territory, as well as on Lord Howe Island, Flinders Island, Garden Island and Rottnest Island.