While ag energy use accounts for approximately 3% of national energy consumption, agricultural producers and other agribusinesses are significant and sometimes anchoring loads on regional distribution networks.
Decentralised and dispatchable energy resources (DER) are poised to make a considerable impact on regional electricity networks. The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) will conduct market research to identify the emerging appetite for local DERs across Queensland’s Renewable Energy Zones (QREZ), and generate insights that will improve the planning, utilisation, and affordability of integrating DERs on regional grids.
Due to increasing electricity costs and the affordability of solar and batteries, regional businesses are seeking alternative ways to share energy locally or take loads off grid.
Councils are similarly considering how community energy systems can offer local resilience and decarbonisation in the energy transition.
QFF’s Localised Energy in Regions project has begun surveying agricultural producers, regional businesses, and regional councils across Queensland to determine the current and emerging appetite for microgrids, Virtual Power Plants, and Community Batteries.
Key insights from a discussion with a small number of early participants include:
- Energy sharing, decarbonisation, and increased electricity consumption are energy priorities for the majority of ag producers and regional business. The top drivers for respondents’ energy strategies included:
- optimising energy assets
- energy sharing
- increased energy use
- Councils reported a modest to growing appetite for community energy, stating communities are open to “anything that offers an alternative” to the present prices.
- Councils also saw opportunity at the local level in the energy transition, with communities also showing a growing understanding of the transition and its implications.
- Half of respondents implemented or seek to implement a microgrid, community battery, or VPP in the next 5 years. The remaining respondents are actively considering the possibility of implementing these options depending on viability factors and risk reduction.
We will be speaking to around 100 local farms, businesses and Council representatives and are still keen to hear from Queensland ag producers and regional businesses that wish to share their views. Click here to sign up.
Regional Farms and Business people that take part in the survey will receive a $50 gift card.