Resilient and renewable: Aiming for greater power resilience in Millaa Millaa

Post-storm or cyclone power cuts are hard to avoid. But we’re working towards solutions which help avoid them in the Millaa Millaa region and improve the reliability of power.

The University of Queensland has teamed up with the community of Millaa Millaa in Far North QLD to explore opportunities to improve this towns energy resilience following natural disasters such as cyclones.

The project team will work closely with our local proponents, the Millaa Lions Club to design and prepare a feasibility study that outlines an effective response to restoring minimum viable electricity supplies to residents in crisis.

Our aim is to use the feasibility study to source Federal funding that will enable the plan to be enacted and a small scale microgrid established to empower the town residents to act immediately following sever weather and restore small but vital levels of energy to power essential needs.

Toward this objective, we will be doing some energy monitoring around town to understand typical electrical loads and doing interviews with residents and businesses to understand their:

(a) experiences of power outages,
(b) thoughts on potential renewable solutions and
(c) current back-up generation capacity or other adaptation strategies you’ve used in the past


ARENA Feasibility Study Outcomes

A second community workshop was held on 7th October 2022 where UQ representative Stephen Snow gave a debrief of the feasibility study process, the options put forward to ARENA for consideration, justifications for the options selected for the potential microgrid to supply Millaa Millaa with power during grid-outages and the next steps. A huge thanks to all the households and businesses who adopted energy monitors! A discussion was had over the study and also about different options for alternative funding sources. The slides from this presentation are available here and our data-driven journey is documented in the short video below.

 Workshop slides

Our project partner Powersensor has published a media release about the project. It has been great to work with Powersensor and their parent company Dius, brought together by an Energy Consumers Australia CEO Grant.


Register your interest 

Want to learn more?

Our project partners Energy Consumers Australia have developed the terrific video-clip below giving the community an overview of why we're here and what we're hoping to achieve through this project. 



Public event

We ran a workshop at the Millaa Millaa CWA Hall at 7pm on Wednesday 23 March, 2022. The workshops slides are available here and a detailed summary of the meeting, questions asked and next steps is available here.

 Workshop slides   Meeting summary

At this meeting we shared our ideas for how to increase Millaa's energy resilience through a small-scale microgrid and spent a considerable amount of time on discussions around different options and gathering local knowledge.

Thank you so much to everyone who attended, to the Lions and QCWA for hosting us and to Energy Consumers Australia, Ergon Energy and Councillor Dave Bilney for their support.


Project partners

This research is assisted greatly by Energy Consumers Australia who has generously provided funding for part of the energy monitoring associated with this project. We now have energy monitoring operational on five businesses and eight households (and counting), gathering vital energy data to determine load profiles in the town. In-kind support has also been received by DiusPowersensor and Phisaver.

energy consumers australiapowersensor by dius

What is a microgrid?

A microgrid is technology which connects and coordinates local energy resources to provide reliable and renewable electricity to an area. Grid-connected microgrids enable normal electricity supply under normal circumstances, but can disconnect from the larger electricity network and operate autonomously in the event of network outages (e.g. post cyclones, storms or other events). More information is available here and we provide links to several other Australian-based microgrid projects in our March 23rd Meeting Summary document here.

What does this entail?

Most viable microgrid options involve installing (or subsidising) solar PV and battery storage onto willing participants’ houses. These batteries communicate with the Microgrid and are coordinated to provide back-up power in the event of a network outage.

Microgrids can also incorporate other local generation assets such as existing solar PV installation or existing backup petrol generation. Several operational microgrids exist in Australia.

Importantly, as part of the feasibility study we want to explore and gather your feedback on different options, so make sure to get in touch, please click the "Register your interest" button on this webpage so we can get in touch.

Please adopt an energy monitor! Part of the technical feasibility process entails gathering an idea of typical electrical loads in the town and Energy Consumers Australia have assisted us in providing anyone who'd like one with a free Powersensor energy monitor (valued at $195) if you are happy to share your energy data with us. To apply for an energy monitor simply click the "Register your interest" button on this webpage. 

You’ll also see us occasionally on the the Millaa Matters Facebook group. Note: this group is a private group.

This study is approved by UQ’s Human Research Ethics unit, project number: HE002515.

For any questions or enquiries, please contact Steve Snow:

Project members

Dr Mashhuda Glencross

Senior Lecturer in Computer Science
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Director of Teaching and Learning