Northern Territory to release 50% renewables plan next week

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Northern Territory government expected to unveil roadmap for 50 per cent renewable energy target next week.

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Uterne Alice Springs

As Australia’s national energy policy enter a new hiatus – as the industry awaits some text to be inserted into the thought bubbles around the proposed National Energy Guarantee- some states and territories are getting on with their own plans.

The Labor government in the Northern Territory is expected next week, and possibly as early as Monday, to unveil the detail of its roadmap to a 50 per cent renewable energy target.

The government last year commissioned a special panel to put together the plan, which could result in some 400MW or more of mostly solar capacity in the territory over the next decade – not a huge sum by any means, but still significant given the potential investment droughts elsewhere.

As in other states, Labor has a diametrically opposite view to the conservative parties. Former LNP leader  and chief minister Adam Giles was an ardent critic of renewables, and now works for Australia’s richest person, the mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

The Labor government in the NT is taking a similar approach as the Labor government in Queensland with its 50 per cent renewable energy target, although the Queensland plans hinge on the outcome of the state election on Saturday. The results seem impossible to predict.

Victoria’s Labor government, meanwhile, has legislated a 40 per cent renewable energy target by 2025, and is conducting a 650MW auction – the largest ever in Australia – while the ACT has already contracted with some 700MW of wind and solar to meet its 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2020.

South Australia’s Labor government has already met its 50 per cent renewable energy target, and is keen on adding more, with numerous large scale solar, wind and storage projects lining up in the state.

The Northern Territory is almost entirely reliant on gas and diesel, and has three small grids – around Darwin, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs, and a host of stand alone systems and micro-grids in its many remote communities.

Alice Springs has made a major push into solar – including 12MW of rooftop solar and the 4MW Uterne solar system (the first large scale system in Australia) – and is installing a 5MW battery storage unit to help allow more solar into its small grid.

The Department of Defence is also making a major push into solar, announcing tenders for a total of 12.5MW of utility-scale solar for the RAAF base and barracks in and around Darwin.

The advisory panel was appointed by the government last December and asked to deliver a roadmap by mid year.

It was chaired by remote power system expert Alan Langworthy, and including Katherine Howard, former Australian Renewable Energy Agency chair Greg Bourne, Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie, and Lyndon Frearson, the head of solar and storage specialists Ekistica.


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  1. Joe 2 years ago

    As soon as NT makes the public announcement it will send Two Tongues Turnbull and his hand puppet Joshie into meltdown…with the public spraying…”Idiotic Ideology”…I think is their favoured slogan. Could the Governor General please trigger a General Election, we have had enough of this lousy COALition Government.

  2. juxx0r 2 years ago

    I still done know how you can take a look at the system and think that 50% is a good number. As it says in the article, the NT runs mostly on gas and diesel and a lot of that is reciprocating. Lets have a look at all the things that are cheaper than reciprocating power:

    Solar thermal
    Solar and batteries
    Wind and batteries
    Pumped Hydro

    They are so much cheaper than reciprocating it’s well worth putting in as much as you can fit. So who the hell comes up with 50%, certainly not an engineer doing his job.

    • RobertO 2 years ago

      Hi juxx0r, just remember that the people doing the Alice Springs quote jobs started at some $100 million (including full gas back up at 2 sites including the running costs). They had no clue on RE and how you can match it into a system. Labour is currently sitting at a target of 50% but they will overshoot the target by 25% to 45%

      • juxx0r 2 years ago

        How many times do we have to get kicked in the nuts before we work out that our government is not working for us?

  3. John 2 years ago

    I’m unable to access the Report but the Report FAQ is available.

    “Government will introduce a new program which encourages uptake of
    battery storage by Territorians. The new scheme will provide a subsidy
    for Territory households and small businesses with rooftop solar
    installations to purchase battery supply to support flexible, secure and
    lower cost electricity supply.”

    Both political parties have the desire to get rid of the Solar feed-in tariff so it should be interesting to see what the Report has on the topic.

    • neroden 2 years ago

      This is the right scheme for an area with so many remote houses. Incentivize households to get complete off-grid, zero-diesel systems.

  4. neroden 2 years ago

    It’s the NT — the target should be 100%.

    That said, 50% is a start. Hopefully they will go for the most remote locations first, as those are where the “greatest bang for the buck” applies.

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