Local, Independant and Effective

Indi embracing renewable energy, pumped hydro and battery storage

Posted March 26, 2018


Cathy has asked the Minister for Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg to outline how micro-grids will provide energy stability under the Government's National Energy Guarantee

Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (14:23): My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Energy. Minister, last week I was pleased to welcome you to Indi to meet with communities embracing renewable energy, pumped hydro and battery storage. You noted that there's a dramatic transformation that's taking place in Australia's energy system—a once in a lifetime transformation—as we move into the world of microgrids, demand management, rooftop solar, pumped hydro and battery storage. Would you agree that partnerships that upskill communities and build capacity can help deliver affordable, reliable and secure energy? And can the Minister please outline to the House how microgrids will provide energy stability under the government's National Energy Guarantee?

Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongMinister for the Environment and Energy) (14:23): I thank the member for Indi for her question. It was a real pleasure to join her and the local communities in her electorate last week, including meeting representatives from Albury-Wodonga, Beechworth, Benalla, Wangaratta and Yackandandah. In Yackandandah the local community has put in place a 90-kilowatt solar system, which will save $1 million for the community over the life of that project. We also went to the Winton Wetlands where they're looking at a 10-megawatt solar project. These are local communities who are taking responsibility for their own power generation, and in doing so reducing their power bills and helping Australia transition to a cleaner energy future. As the member rightly says, we are going through a once-in-a-century transition in our energy system, from a centralised system with traditional synchronous sources of generation to one with much more distributed generation, microgrids, renewables and storage. We are helping, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, to support the rollout of these projects. While I was in Indi I spoke about the $12½ million funding round the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has announced, where it will support pilot projects in local communities like Indi that bring together renewables and storage. It could be batteries or it could be, as they are looking at in this community, pumped hydro, inverters or other smart control systems.

Other projects that the Turnbull government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency continue to support include the Garden Island Microgrid, which brings together wave energy, storage and solar in Western Australia; wind, solar, batteries and reducing the reliance on diesels in Coober Pedy in South Australia; and the Lakeland Storage and Solar Project in Northern Queensland in the member for Leichhardt's electorate, which is a 10-megawatt solar and 1.4-megawatt-hour battery project. All this is coming together under the National Energy Guarantee, the recommendation from the independent Energy Security Board, which is a key opportunity that we cannot let pass to properly integrate energy and climate policy to ensure a more reliable and affordable system. Australian households will be $300 a year better off under the National Energy Guarantee than they would be under the Labor Party's plan. The Turnbull coalition government are delivering microgrids, storage and renewables, but most of all we are ensuring a transition to a more affordable and reliable energy system for those people in Indi and beyond.

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