New microgrid program for Latrobe Valley boosts renewable energy development

The Victorian government will fund a $3-million grant program to help grow the new energy technology sector in the Latrobe Valley.

Minister for energy Lily D’ambrosia said it was about ensuring businesses in the Latrobe Valley had access to cheap, clean, and reliable energy.

She announced the Latrobe Valley microgrid grant program on the 21st of August.

“This microgrid program will mean local businesses can save money and strengthen investment in the local economy,” said D’Ambrosio.

READ: Australia’s largest renewable energy microgrid powers ahead

The program helps accelerate the uptake of renewable energy in the region.

The funding will support the development of a microgrid project located in the Latrobe Valley with the aim of lowering the cost of energy for local businesses, encouraging investment in the region and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, said it was an exciting program that gave businesses the opportunity to source their energy from renewable resources and reduce the cost of their electricity.

“I encourage industry to apply for this grant program which will boost the development of renewable energy in the Latrobe Valley,” said Shing.

A microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local supply of power that can function independently of the electricity grid, delivering energy security, sustainability and cost savings for those in the network.

A microgrid generally operates while connected to the grid, but importantly, it can break off and operate on its own using local energy generation in times of crisis like storms or power outages.

Microgrids can also share excess energy produced back into the network for other users.

Eligible project types include microgrids, virtual power plants and smart embedded networks which have renewable energy as the primary energy source.

Applications close on the 17th of September 2018.

The successful microgrid project will need to be completed by mid-2022.

The grant program is in addition to the government’s $10 million state-wide Microgrid Demonstration Program.