This paper, authored by Ekistica for ARENA, examines insights from Australian fringe-of-grid projects to broaden and deepen Australia’s understanding of fringe-of grid systems.
Fringe-of-grid (FOG) areas of Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM) and South West Interconnected System (SWIS) are parts of the grid that are remote, far from the main load and population centres along the country’s coastline. Electricity supply to these areas is characterised by more frequent reliability and quality issues and greater electrical losses, reaching 35% or above in some areas. Cost of supply is significantly higher, requiring government support or subsidisation to improve the viability of delivering this essential service.
ARENA’s funding portfolio includes projects in FOG areas whose experiences, development to construction, commissioning and operation, provide insight into the ability of decentralised renewable energy to serve these areas. A number of ARENA projects provide such experiences, and three, specifically, within the Regional Australia’s Renewables (RAR) portfolio were funded with the objectives to (1) demonstrate a portfolio of renewable energy solutions in FOG areas; (2) ensure knowledge is created and disseminated on deploying renewable energy solutions in FOG areas; and (3) remove the roadblocks to deploying renewable energy solutions in FOG areas. This paper examines insights from these projects to broaden and deepen Australia’s understanding of FOG systems.