Power and Water Corporation has welcomed grant funding from the Australian Government to conduct a feasibility study into the future of microgrids to help propel the Northern Territory into a cleaner energy future.
The $1.2 million grant, announced recently under the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund – Microgrids 2019-20, will enable Power and Water to investigate methods of maintaining or improving microgrid reliability while delivering associated environmental and cost benefits.
“This funding will help us build on lessons learned from our successful Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP) to further reduce operational costs while improving power supply reliability for our remote area customers,” Power Services Executive General Manager Ross Musgrove said.
“It is important for us to be able to provide safe and reliable essential services to all Territorians, and ensure we help as many of our customers as possible take full advantage of new technologies across the entire Power and Water footprint.”
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The NT Microgrids Futures Project will see 20 isolated diesel and fringe-of-grid communities studied to produce detailed business cases as well as microgrid methodologies over the next two years.
These communities have been shortlisted based on high levels of service interruptions, opportunities for reducing energy costs, high forecast demand growth, a range of different regional areas, conditions and community sizes as well as regulated and non-regulated fringe-of-grid scenarios.
“There may also be other significant benefits, including the potential for job creation and maintenance, private sector investment and opportunities to partner with local Aboriginal enterprises,” Mr Musgrove said.
“Power and Water has a proud history of incorporating solar energy technology into our business for the past 20 years. We will continue to transform our remote energy supply portfolio to include renewable energy sources.”
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Power and Water will contribute an additional $200,000 to the project.
In addition to providing drinking water and sewerage services across the Northern Territory, Power and Water is also the power network operator and maintains a portfolio of more than 60 remote isolated grids.
Power and Water’s SETuP isolated off-grid solar program, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Northern Territory Government, saw 10MW of solar rolled out to 25 remote Aboriginal communities.
The $59 million project was completed in 2019 and will deliver an estimated savings of 94 million litres of diesel over the 25-year program.