Expanding the limits of renewables without breaking the bank

ARENA is looking to remote diesel-based power grids as test beds for pushing the limits of what's possible with renewable energy while avoiding spending huge sums of money. It's a good idea but its not yet clear how they'll improve on what has already been done via a decade-old program that dates back to the Howard Government.

For those of you with reasonable memories, you’ll know the Australian government ran a program for around a decade called the Remote Renewable Power Generation Program or RRPGP. The idea behind the program was that remote off-grid regions or regions with only small grids tended to rely on very expensive diesel fuel for their power needs, and so renewable energy is closer to being a cost-effective option. To illustrate, the cost per megawatt-hour (MWh) for diesel generation is close to $250 to $400, a price that solar with battery storage can match and even beat.      

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