The Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg MP has announced a new renewable energy plan for the Northern Territory of Australia.
Jointly funded by ARENA which is the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the NT Government, the project will use 3,200 solar panels (1MW of solar energy, powering half of the town’s energy needs) while storing power in a 2MWh lithium-ion battery. This will help power 28 remote communities in NT, where its cost prohibitive to connect to other sources of power from the grid. The solution to date has been to power generators which burn through 400,000 litres of diesel each year.
Daly River will be the first remote Indigenous community in the Northern Territory to be powered by solar and battery thanks to the roll out of the $55 million Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP). The Turnbull Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is providing $27.5 million to SETuP, a project jointly funded by Northern Territory Government and led by the Power and Water Corporation.
Diesel fuel use reduction over the lifetime of the project is expected to be as much as 94 million litres.
So far, more than 10,500 solar panels have been installed, providing 5,000 kwh/h of energy per day to more than 570 homes across 10 remote communities.
The Daly River site differs from other SETuP sites because it incorporates a lithium-ion battery, charged by 3,200 solar panels. The battery enables diesel engines to be turned off during the day, enabling a cleaner and quieter system. The project is an important step towards transforming the way energy is supplied to remote communities in Australia and demonstrates how renewable energy can reduce the reliance on diesel.