1381.0 - Research Paper: A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans, 2013  
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Image: Energy Infrastructure word cloud

RDA committees in 28 regions raised an issue regarding energy infrastructure. These issues can be divided into three groups: electricity, natural gas and renewable energy infrastructure.

6.5.1 Electricity

Electricity infrastructure was identified as an issue in seventeen regions. The lack of a stable, reliable and affordable source of power was common. RDA committees were concerned with the age, safety and efficiency of their electricity network and commented that it was reaching peak capacity and could not accommodate additional demand. It was frequently reported that many communities were not connected to the national power grid and that power in remote communities needed to be generated locally using expensive diesel generators. In many regions, the inaccessibility and high cost of electricity was seen as a major barrier to industrial growth and development.

6.5.2 Natural Gas

RDA committees in fourteen regions identified an issue with natural gas infrastructure. Poor access to natural gas was reported in most of these regions; many areas, such as parts of Victoria’s Gippsland, were not supplied with reticulated natural gas and relied on bottled gas, which could be expensive (RDA Gippsland, 2010, p. 108).

6.5.3 Renewable Energy

Issues with renewable energy infrastructure were raised by RDA committees in ten regions. These regions commonly reported the need to increase the generation and usage of renewable energy. RDA committees in some regions commented that the majority of their energy came from non-renewable sources and they needed to supplement this with renewable energy generation. In the Goldfields-Esperance region, for example, development of renewable energy sources was one of the four critical aspirations of the region, but there were considerable challenges associated with providing renewable energy to the mining industry, regional towns and remote communities. (RDA Goldfields-Esperance, 2012, pp. 1-2). However, it was also identified that there was a lack of understanding about renewable energy options and a lack of land allocated for these developments.