Australia’s Northern Territory to Offer Competitive Tender for Remote Microgrids

Share Button

This article, by Sophie Vorrath, first appeared in One Step off the Grid, a publication based in Australia

remote microgrids

By xtock/Shutterstock.com

The Northern Territory (NT) government has laid the foundations for plans to transition scores of remote indigenous communities to renewable-based power systems by 2030, with the announcement of $2 million in funding and a competitive tender process.

In a statement on Monday, the Gunner Labor government said it would invest $2 million over the coming two years to advance the delivery of “clean and reliable” electricity to remote communities supplied by the Indigenous Essential Services, of which there is a total of 72.

The initiative, which was part of the recommendations of the Territory Economic Reconstruction, aims to target an aggregate 70% renewables penetration in these communities as part of the Territory’s broader goal of 50% renewables by 2030.

The community power generation program has also been recognized by Infrastructure Australia as a priority initiative in its 2021 guide to nationally significant infrastructure needs.

The government said that, for its part, some of the $2 million in new funding would go toward the establishment of a two-stage competitive process to secure delivery of the renewable energy microgrids — including innovative technologies such as renewable hydrogen — following project assessments and community engagement.

“A key part of this investment is developing an open and contestable delivery framework to facilitate around $400 million of private investment in remote power system services to communities supplied by Indigenous Essential Services,” the statement said.

The government said the competitive process would focus on maximizing opportunities for local industries, creating local jobs and building local skills and expertise – with the broader goal of establishing the Territory as a leader in remote microgrid technologies.

“Energy and renewables will unlock private investment and create local jobs – and we are hunting every opportunity,” said the NT’s Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

Interested in microgrids? Join us at Microgrid 2021: The World Awakens to Microgrids, a virtual conference featuring more than 50 top microgrid leaders and experts. Participation is free if you register in advance. Space is limited on the virtual platform.

“Renewables are a big part of how we lock in the comeback from the coronavirus crisis and this opportunity will open the door to millions more dollars to flow into the Territory,” Gunner said. “We will keep doing the hard work to provide jobs for Territorians, right across the Territory – everyone has to be part of the comeback.”

The NT has some experience already of installing remote renewable energy microgrids through its Solar Energy Transformation Program project – which was, at the time, said to be Australia’s largest roll out of solar to remote communities.

The $59 million, ARENA-backed program, which was completed this time two years ago, integrated a total of 10 MW of solar PV – and one 2-MWh battery storage system – with off-grid power stations across 25 remote indigenous communities.

Free Resource from Microgrid Knowledge Library

Energy-as-a-Service Municipal Microgrids
California’s Critical Facility Challenge: The Case for Energy-as-a-Service Municipal Microgrids
If California does not modernize its grid and power delivery infrastructure via sustainable premium power provided by microgrids, the state will be thwarted in its efforts to meet not only its economic and public safety needs, but aggressive carbon reduction and renewable energy goals. Download the new white paper commissioned by Schneider Electric that answers one of the most commonly asked questions: How can today's governments pay for the vital energy infrastructure upgrades they need? Enter Energy-as-a-Service municipal microgrids.
We always respect your privacy and we never sell or rent our list to third parties. By downloading this White Paper you are agreeing to our terms of service. You can opt out at any time.

Get this PDF emailed to you.

On top of that, in June of last year, a 970-kWh battery energy storage system was installed at the Titjikala community, around 130 km south of Alice Springs, allowing it to run on solar only during the day and slash diesel consumption by more than 150,000 liters a year.

This article was reposted with the permission of One Step off the Grid, where it first appeared.
Share Button