Regional microgrids

A solution to remote and regional problems?

Microgrids are an independent power network that use local, distributed energy resources to provide grid backup or off-grid power to meet local electricity needs. This can be particularly helpful for communities in regional and rural settings.

Other potential benefits:

  • Rural and regional communities tend to be at the end of the grid or have long distribution lines, leading to quality deterioration of the electricity supply.
  • Microgrids are becoming increasingly commercially feasible in Australia under certain circumstances, in part driven by technical and cost improvements. However, their analysis is complex and balancing the needs, benefits and costs across the varied stakeholder groups is a challenge.
  • There is also lack of understanding on microgrid reliability, benefits, operation, ownership and the governing market rules.

The Donald and Tarnagulla Microgrid Feasibility Study was part of a project looking at microgrid technologies to replace, upgrade or supplement existing electricity supply arrangements in off-grid and fringe-of grid communities located in regional and remote areas.

The study yielded insights on factors that can drive cost-effectiveness of microgrids beyond remoteness and cost of connection and or augmentation, such as reliability challenges.

Why were Donald and Tarnagulla chosen?

Donald and Tarnagulla were selected based on their strong community aspirations for new energy solutions.

Furthermore, the Loddon and Buloke Shires fall within an area where energy security and reliability are considerable challenges for their council and community with residents and businesses experiencing frequent outages.

What other stakeholders were involved in this study?

  • Powercor
  • The Centre for New Energy Technology (C4NET)
  • The Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA)
  • Ovida
  • Buloke Shire council
  • Loddon Shire councils
  • C4NET’s research members of Deakin University, Monash University, RMIT University, Federation University Australia, the University of Melbourne and Swinburne University of Technology

For more information on the project visit the C4NET website.