The Morrison Government is supporting the creation of a world-leading renewable microgrid for the Daintree community in Far North Queensland.
The government has awarded Volt Advisory Group $18.75 million over three years to develop a highly innovative renewable energy microgrid for the Daintree region.
The project will support more than 200 jobs in Far North Queensland.
The grant is being delivered under the Daintree Microgrid Program, following a feasibility study completed under the $50 million Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund.
The renewable energy microgrid will incorporate an 8 MW solar farm, 20 MWh of battery storage and a 1 MW clean hydrogen plant.
In recognition that the Daintree rainforest is in the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics of Queensland, the project aims to avoid disturbance in the area by deploying the microgrid along roadways and on previously cleared land.
Federal Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said the Daintree Microgrid will ensure the Daintree community has a more affordable, more reliable and a more resilient electricity supply.
“This is a major win for communities in the Daintree Rainforest, which will see reduced pollution and noise from diesel generators and will be a valuable demonstration of solar to hydrogen technology” Mr Taylor said.
“The renewable and hydrogen microgrid will use cutting edge technology to reduce emissions and drive down costs by ending the community’s reliance on costly diesel generation.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said he was proud to have delivered this important project for the Daintree community.
“This project is a game-changer for the Daintree community and delivers on my firm commitment to residents to deliver a solution to their power needs,” Mr Entsch said.
“This project, which also includes the laying of new fibre-optic cables, will significantly improve communications in the region and will be welcome news for residents and business owners.
“Microgrid technology is becoming increasingly cost-effective, creating the opportunity for reliable, low-cost, off-grid power in communities like the Daintree.
“But more importantly, from an environmental aspect, it will remove the need to burn dirty and inefficient diesel in the Daintree, allowing residents to have access to a cleaner, more affordable, more reliable source of energy.”
Assistant Minister to the Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Tim Wilson said the microgrid would generate direct benefits for the Daintree community.
“Building this world-leading renewable microgrid is a giant leap forward in building Australia’s carbon neutral future,” Mr Wilson said.
“This renewable microgrid will deliver cheaper, reliable power and is an essential investment in the Daintree community.
“Once completed, the microgrid will displace more than four million litres of diesel fuel consumed in the Daintree each year.
“This highly innovative project demonstrates the public-private leadership required to get Australia to carbon neutrality by 2050.
“It also presents a significant opportunity to develop key learnings that can be applied as we pursue further microgrid options across Australia.”
Funding to develop the microgrid will continue the momentum generated to date and ensure that the Daintree community can access the benefits of renewable energy as quickly as possible.
The project will commence this year and the microgrid is due to begin operations by 2024.
Commonwealth support for the Daintree microgrid builds on more than $100 million in funding the Government has already committed to support the investigation and deployment of microgrid technologies across regional and remote Australia.