Federal funding of $18 million has been awarded to a new microgrid for Far North Queensland, comprising a solar farm, battery storage and a green hydrogen plant.

The Federal government has awarded $18.75 million over three years to Volt Advisory Group to develop the facility.

A world-leading renewable microgrid will be delivered for the Daintree community in Far North Queensland to reap the benefits of clean energy technologies.

The Daintree facility will be a renewable energy microgrid, incorporating an 8MW solar farm, 20MWh of battery storage and a 1MW green hydrogen plant.

Microgrids are small-scale electricity systems, and the announced project at Daintree is intended to be a valuable demonstration of solar to hydrogen technology.

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.

Switching to renewable sources of energy will displace over four million litres of diesel currently consumed each year – an important move given that the Daintree rainforest is part of the World Heritage-listed, Wet Tropics of Queensland.

Due to start this year, the Daintree microgrid project is scheduled for operation by 2024 and expected to create 200 jobs.

The project will aim to avoid disturbance in the area by deploying the microgrid along roadways and on previously cleared land.

Commonwealth support for the Daintree microgrid builds on more than $100 million in Federal funding already committed to support the investigation and deployment of microgrid technologies across regional and remote Australia.

Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, 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.”

The Federal Member for Leichhardt, 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 Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Tim Wilson, said, “Building this world-leading renewable microgrid is a giant leap forward in building Australia’s carbon neutral future. 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.”

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