The Flow on Benefits of Microgrids for Agriculture

The Flow on Benefits of Microgrids for Agriculture project ran from July 2020 to June 2022. The project aimed to assess whether microgrids can offer benefits to electricity consumers and networks such as reduced costs in the rural and agriculture irrigation sector, stable network energy flows, increased network utilisation, and increased uptake of decarbonised and distributed energy systems.

Project findings including a final report and a range of case studies are now available to offer project insights to farmers, networks, regulators, and other relevant stakeholders.

Final Project Report
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Project Details

  • Project Background

    Unsustainable electricity costs are eroding the viability and productivity of many agriculture businesses and alternative solutions are needed. Tariffs are often ill-suited to the seasonality of agriculture’s energy use and on-farm renewables are often underutilised without retailer options to share energy across meters on site or incentives to share locally. Reliability, increased electrification, power of choice, and decarbonisation present additional drivers for farmers to pursue greater energy independence and business resilience.

    The Flow on Benefits of Microgrids for Agriculture project explored the feasibility of microgrids as an alternative solution across four different farming scenarios in Queensland and New South Wales, each representing a practical and replicable microgrid archetype.

    • Archetype 1: Single Enterprise, Pokolbin NSW, winery
    • Archetype 2: Edge of Grid, St George QLD, cotton farm
    • Archetype 3: Large Microgrid, Mackay QLD, cane farmer cluster
    • Archetype 4: Anchor/Hybrid, Wee Waa NSW, mixed commodity farm
  • Microgrids in Agriculture

    Microgrids offer an exciting new model for farms to buy and sell power differently as well as better utilisation of on-site generation and local electricity networks. They may also have the added benefit of reducing grid losses as energy will be used more locally, leading to lower investment costs in infrastructure while increasing reliability.

    These benefits all have the potential to reduce energy costs and were tested by the project. Ultimately, farmers could benefit from more stable network energy flows, increased network utilisation, more cost-effective uptake of distributed energy systems and reduced costs to provide a community-based source of local, affordable, low carbon energy.

    The way energy is generated and consumed is rapidly changing, with customer-owned generation and storage expected to make up almost half of Australia’s entire electricity capacity by 2050. This project placed our project partners and the agriculture sector at the forefront of energy generation innovation to better understand and overcome ongoing reliability and affordability issues.

  • Project Webinars


Project Manager, Energy

Andrew Chamberlin

The flow on benefits of microgrids for agriculture project is funded by the Australian Government’s Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund.

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