Northern Territory councils in line for solar, battery grants under sustainability funding scheme

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Looking to approach its 50% renewable energy target by 2030, the Northern Territory government has launched a $2 million funding program, which is open to government councils seeking to upgrade their infrastructure to support the efficient use of energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable energy systems, EV charging stations, solar hot water systems, lighting upgrades (e.g. LEDs, controls, timers, sensors, solar powered), shade structures, energy efficient pumps, energy storage (e.g. batteries or chilled water systems), solar powered bores and water storage are some of the initiatives councils could implement with the help of the government grants.

The initiative is part of the NT government’s plans to take its three grids to an installed total of 450 MW renewables by 2030, mostly solar PV, as envisaged in the Roadmap to Renewables Report released in 2017.

“Our Roadmap to Renewables report recommended a target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 for household and business electricity costs and this program will support such energy innovation,” said Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Gerry McCarthy. “This investment will encourage councils to move to better energy efficient infrastructure and products and will also help to reduce costs to consumers and taxpayers.”

Local government councils throughout the Territory have until April 5 to apply for a one-off Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Grant funding, and can find further information here.

With the Roadmap in sight, the NT government has already invested $59 million together with ARENA for the Solar SETuP program providing 10 MW of solar across 25 remote communities, $5 million into its Rooftop Solar in Schools program with the goal to install PV systems on up to 25 schools across the state, $8.3 million in the 5 MW Alice Springs Battery Energy Storage System and $4.5 million in its smart energy grants scheme.

In terms of large-scale solar, the government waved through the 25 MW Katherine Solar Farm last October as the Territory’s largest solar farm recently acquired by Italian oil group Eni, as well as two 10 MW solar farms at Batchelor and Manton Dam, which are soon to enter the construction phase and boost the NT share of renewable energy from the current 3% to 10%.