Localised Energy in Regions

Decentralised and dispatchable Consumer Energy Resources (CER) 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 CERs across Queensland’s Renewable Energy Zones (QREZ), and insights that improve the planning, utilisation, and affordability of integrating CERs on regional grids.

Project Details

  • What is Smart Energy Technology?

    Smart energy technology generally refers to energy generation, storage, appliances, and controls that can:

    • communicate in real time with two-way communication between consumer assets and grid operators,
    • operate flexibly across low to high voltage loads and assets,
    • orchestrate complex and diverse systems and networks, sometimes using machine learning,
    • co-ordinate and integrate consumer energy resources (CERs) for optimal ‘smart grid’ functionality

    Technological advances in real time data, IOT, and AI and the affordability of renewables have enabled a transition to ‘smart grids’ which can also be thought of as ‘energy with a brain.’

    The modernisation of traditional grids via smart energy technology stands to improve the efficiency of energy networks, the resilience and decarbonisation of communities, and the democratisation of energy consumers and markets.

  • Smart Energy in Regional Communities

    Despite the successful adoption of consumer owned solar and battery systems, consumers are now facing affordability and regulatory challenges that prevent regional QLD from fully unlocking the benefits of their energy investments.

    Local communities and businesses are increasingly considering the benefits of sharing and trading energy locally to improve energy productivity, affordability, decarbonisation, and resilience on their terms. The following smart energy technologies are the most common means for local energy sharing:

    • A community battery is situated within and shared across a community. It is designed to optimise grid performance, locally. For example, it can soak up excess solar and reduce night-time peaks, stabilise voltage, or provide resilience to grid failure.
    • A virtual power plant aggregates small scale and independent energy producers like roof top solar and home batteries, virtually, into a single energy system that is not necessarily restricted to a single segment of the grid. VPPs can also trade excess energy locally or with the national FCAS or spot markets.
    • A microgrid is a physical energy grid that generates and distributes electricity within its own discrete geographic footprint. It can operate separate from or connected to the central grid or a network of other microgrids.
  • Project Objectives

    This project aims to identify the emerging appetite of 100 regional councils, businesses, and agricultural producers for locally dispatchable Consumer Energy Resources (CERs) – specifically microgrids, virtual power plants, and community batteries – across Queensland’s Renewable Energy Zones (QREZ).

    This information will be used to generate an anonymised interactive market map, segmented by Local Government Area (LGA) and QREZ, with key information such as identified current and future CER projects, their capacity and technology type. This map will be available to the public, offering insights to inform and improve the planning, utilisation, and affordability of integrating CERs on regional grids.

    Project Timeline

    • Survey 100 regional council, agricultural, and business consumers across QREZs, (November 2022 – March 2023)
    • Publish a market map of identified current and future local CER projects, (March – April 2023) and;
    • Share learnings, resources, and recommendations with stakeholders (April – June 2023).


  • Project Update

    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:
      • affordability
      • reliability
      • optimising energy assets
      • decarbonisation
      • 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.
  • Findings and Resources


    A brief overview of new energy technology


Please contact the project team for more information

(07) 3837 4701


Our privacy commitment to your data:

We will keep your contact details confidential so we can contact you about the project.
We will use your anonymised feedback to help develop the market map. We will keep your feedback confidential, but we may quote your responses. If we do, we will not attribute them to you unless we have your permission to do so.
We will invite you to any other consultations about the project including webinars. Once the project is completed, we will delete your contact information unless you want to continue receiving related QFF eNews.

“This project was funded by Energy Consumers Australia (www.energyconsumersaustralia.com.au) as part of its grants process for consumer advocacy projects and research projects for the benefit of consumers of electricity and natural gas. 
The views expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect the views of Energy Consumers Australia.”