Dynamic Business Logo
Home Button
Bookmark Button

Credit: Alexander Grey

$125m fund: New funding for renewable energy SMEs

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency, acting on behalf of the Australian Government, has inaugurated the Regional Microgrids Program.

This initiative is backed by a substantial fund of $125 million aimed at advancing the development and implementation of microgrid technologies in rural and isolated communities.

A significant portion of this allocation, amounting to $75 million, has been designated for microgrid projects within First Nations communities. Typically, these communities face electricity challenges due to their reliance on diesel, which is not only costly and inconsistent but also environmentally taxing.

The First Nations Community Microgrids Stream, an integral facet of the program, aspires to furnish cleaner, more affordable, and dependable energy solutions. Its primary objective is to empower First Nations communities by involving them in shaping their energy supply systems and contributing to the evolution of energy infrastructure.

This funding initiative has been prompted by revisions to the National Agreement for Closing the Gap, which now includes fresh standards for delivering essential services.

The assessment process will occur in two stages: initial Expressions of Interest followed by comprehensive Full Applications. This program will continue to operate on an ongoing basis, offering ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) the opportunity to collaborate with applicants and offer feedback on their submissions.

Under the umbrella of the First Nations Community Microgrids Stream, microgrid projects will be developed through extensive consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, experts in First Nations renewable energy, and various state and territory governments throughout Australia.

The development of program guidelines has been an inclusive process involving input from diverse stakeholders, including the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) and representatives of other First Nations groups.

Both segments of the program share the common goal of eliminating obstacles that impede the final investment and comprehensive implementation of microgrid solutions.

ARENA’s CEO, Darren Miller, emphasized the significance of this funding in providing First Nations communities access to renewable energy. He noted that this initiative builds upon ARENA’s ongoing commitment to renewable energy microgrids and underscores the importance of ensuring that remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities participate in and benefit from Australia’s renewable energy transition.

Miller also acknowledged the unique challenges faced by remote communities that rely on fossil fuels like diesel, expressing confidence that this funding will help surmount the barriers obstructing the wider integration of microgrid solutions.

Thanks to ARENA’s extensive experience in supporting intricate and emerging renewable energy projects, the organization is well poised to collaborate with developers and First Nations communities to usher in the energy transition in remote regions of Australia.

Furthermore, the program encompasses the former $50 million Regional Australia Microgrid Pilots Program (RAMPP) previously undertaken by ARENA. As a result, the overall funding available for the Regional Microgrids Program across both streams stands at $125 million.

Applications are open now, with the program to run until December 2025 or until funds are exhausted.
For more information about the Regional Microgrids Program, including eligibility and how to apply, please visit the ARENA funding page.

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

What do you think?

    Be the first to comment

Add a new comment

Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

View all posts