Queenslanders living in regional and remote communities can now apply for funding to improve their energy independence and resilience through renewable energy microgrids with the state government announcing a pilot fund to help develop and deliver microgrid projects as part of the transformation of the state’s energy system.
The state government said the $10 million Queensland Microgrid Pilot Fund (QMPF) will be used to develop a series of microgrids that will be connected to the main grid but also able to operate independently if required.
Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the fund aims to improve the resilience and reliability of electricity supply in the state’s regional and remote communities, some of which still rely on diesel-fuelled generators.
“The two-year program offers grants for communities on the edge of the electricity grid to deliver shovel-ready microgrid projects or provide support to develop future projects through feasibility studies,” he said.
“We know that regional and remote communities endure tough weather conditions and are at risk of power outages so this fund is designed to support innovation to improve reliability of energy supply.
“Our plan is to help people to take advantage of Queensland’s clean energy revolution, by installing new renewable generation and storage, as well as contributing to the decarbonisation of regional Queensland.”
Assistant Minister Lance McCallum said the microgrids fund is also a “huge opportunity” for remote Indigenous communities which want to take more ownership over their energy independence.
“One of the program’s objectives is to demonstrate how the deployment of a microgrid will have unique benefits for First Nations people within the community,” he said.
“As a proud First Nations Queenslander I know how important energy resilience and independence for these communities can be.
“Microgrids will provide the ability to recover quickly or maintain energy supply during network outages caused by extreme weather events.”
De Brenni said the fund would work in conjunction with existing federal and state initiatives to help communities attract investment in renewable energy.
The fund will initially offer grants of up to $5 million to support the construction of microgrid projects, and between $250,000 and $750,000 to help projects that meet the program objectives and eligibility requirements get “shovel ready”.
The fund is one of the first programs to be delivered under the Queensland government’s Energy and Jobs Plan, a 10-year vision for the state’s energy transformation that is expected to command $62 billion worth of public and private investment over the next 15 years.
Queensland is aiming to supply 50% of the state’s energy demands from renewables by 2030, and 80% by 2035.
Applications for the QMPF will close on 16 March, 2023.
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