Work is well underway to deliver more affordable and reliable power for the Daintree community.
The Australian Government last year invested $990,150 towards a feasibility study to allow Daintree Renewable Energy Pty Ltd to take fully-renewable microgrid project to ‘shovel ready’ status within 12 months.
The study will deliver a fully costed design for a solar microgrid where excess solar generation will be stored as hydrogen and used to generate electricity when solar resources are not available.
The design is also focusing on avoiding any impact on the natural environment with all necessary cabling and power lines to go under existing easements and infrastructure.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the first community update report showed the project was on track and on schedule.
“Work commenced in early December, 2019 and will be finalised in July, 2020,” Mr Entsch said.
“The final report will include a complete series of engineering and technical design packages including a detailed energy load profile study, microgrid management design, solar generation and storage analysis and design, electrical and civil work designs and microgrid economic analysis.”
Mr Entsch said the microgrid project would not be used as a catalyst for further development in the region despite the rumour and innuendo being peddled by a few.
“The Daintree is a World Heritage Protected Rainforest and is protected by a number of instruments, including a strict planning regime which limits the potential for future development,” he said.
“This project is in no way seeking to change any of that. The microgrid is being designed to align with the strict planning regime and accommodate energy requirements for existing population and businesses.”
Volt Advisory Group project manager Richard Schoenemann said work on the project was actually slightly ahead of schedule.
He said the proposed microgrid would reduce the World Heritage Area’s reliance on four million litres of diesel fuel per year to generate power.
“This project is the first of its kind in the world – a fully renewable baseload-power microgrid,” Mr Schoenemann said.
“It will remove the need to burn dirty and inefficient diesel in the Daintree, allowing customers to have access to a cleaner, more affordable, more reliable source of energy.
“But more importantly, once the concept is demonstrated and up-and-running it will have enormous potential to improve the power supply and lives of people living in remote communities including throughout the Torres Strait.”