The Federal government approved a grant of $1,089,165.00 to Daintree Renewable Energy on November 2, 2019 for a study for the development of a renewable community microgrid in the Daintree.
- The purpose of the grant was to provide design and solution for a community microgrid in the Daintree
- Work on the grant-funded project was scheduled to have been completed in July 2020.
- According to Federal Member Warren Entsch, the Report has been lodged with the relevant government departments and is under review
- Mr Entsch is “100% determined to deliver a solar enhanced hydrogen microgrid to provide clean energy north of the Daintree river”.
The purpose of the grant was described as follows: “This study will provide a detailed and practical set of costed solutions and designs for a ‘shovel–ready’ community microgrid in the Daintree which: addresses the technical and commercial constraints with (extensive engineering and economic analysis) associated with achieving higher renewable uptake than otherwise experienced in Australian microgrids; addresses the regulatory gaps in the microgrid sector with regards to appropriate governance, operator accountability and tariff structures; and addresses the required funding models and roles of public and private parties to ensure appropriate returns and certainty for investors are achieved.”
In an interview in PV Magazine on February 19, 2020 the Federal Member for the Division of Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, is quoted saying it would be finalised by July 2020.
Federal Member for the Division of Leichhardt, Warren Entsch
“Work commenced in early December 2019…and will be finalised in July 2020…The final report will include a complete series of engineering and technical design packages including a detailed energy load profile study, microgrid management design, solar generation and storage analysis and design, electrical and civil work designs and microgrid economic analysis.”
According to the Grant Award Review, the grant for the project officially finished on March 9, 2021 and proponents promised a “shovel ready” report in July of 2020. As of the date of this article, DouglasNews.Network has been unable to obtain a copy of the anticipated report.
DouglasNews.Network sought information from the Daintree Renewable Energy Pty Ltd for today’s article but when contact was made with a former (sic) member of the group, the respondent answered by hanging up.
The Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, was also contacted for comment for this article.
Mr Entsch stated that the report on the Daintree microgrid project was completed in September 2020 and is currently under government review by appropriate departments. He did not indicate when that report might be available but did say that he is 100% determined to deliver a solar enhanced hydrogen microgrid to provide clean energy north of the Daintree river.
Richard Schoenemann, from Volt Advisory Group confirms that his company completed its report providing a detailed and practical set of costed solutions and designs for a ‘shovel–ready’ community microgrid in the Daintree. They delivered the report to the Federal Government in September 2020. Volt Advisory Group was contracted by Daintree Renewable Energy Pty Ltd to deliver the blueprint for a 100% renewable electricity microgrid north of the Daintree River. Mr Schoenemann also confirmed that Volt continues to provide support to Daintree Renewable Energy Pty Ltd despite funding from the grant being exhausted.
DouglasNews.Network sent a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources on 2 February 2021, to learn more about the progress of this project.
On 24 February 2021 the department responded as follows:
“I am satisfied that a practical refusal reason exists in relation to this request. The practical refusal reason is that the work involved in processing the request would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the department from its other operations.”
A scaled down request was submitted on 21 March 2021. A month later, on 20 April, 2021 the Department responded by stating that three documents would be made available after a fee of $ 30.66 was paid.
This fee has been paid, so perhaps the taxpayers of Australia will soon know what they have received for their one million dollar investment in renewable energy.
The questions that must be asked. I’m not holding my breath for the answers. With Biden in the Whitehouse – the dynamics have changed. Eventually the penny will drop that the Daintree coast is too cloudy to support this dream, and the importance of the Daintree rainforest is increasing.