Distributed energy producer EDL will build, own and operate hybrid microgrid in the remote Northern Territory (NT) mining town of Jabiru. Working with the NT Government, EDL’s Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Project (the Project) will help the community transition from its recent history as a uranium mining town to a new future as a tourist destination in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park (Kakadu).
Jabiru is held in native title by the Mirarr people. The town, as it is recognised today, has only existed since 1982, when it was established as a living community for the nearby Ranger Uranium Mine.
The project, which integrates 3.9 MW of solar generation and a 3 MW/5MWh battery with 4.5 MW of diesel generation will be EDL’s 100th site since it began 30 years ago with the development of the Pine Creek Power Station on the other side of Kakadu.
“Once completed, our hybrid renewable power station will provide Jabiru with at least 50% renewable energy over the long term, without compromising power quality or reliability,” said EDL CEO James Harman. “We are proud to contribute to the Territory’s 50% renewable energy target by 2030 through this sustainable energy solution.”
The Ranger Uranium Mine, owned by Energy Resources Australia, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, was once one of the most productive uranium mines in the world. However, The mine ceased production on January 8 2021, after years of losses primarily attributed to the market slump following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The now-abandoned mine is completely enclosed by Kakadu, making the nearby Jabiru an ideal hub for rejuvenated tourism and services to this treasure trove of both natural and human wonders. Indeed, Kakadu possesses more than 5,000 recorded sites of indigenous art stretching back more than fifty thousand years.
According to the Katherine Times (KT), Kakadu is set to undergo a $276 million upgrade as part of a plan to rejuvenate tourism to the home of the world’s oldest living culture. Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley told KT “The park’s Traditional Owners want to see culturally appropriate tourism grow and we will work with them to achieve that outcome.”
EDL will begin construction on the project in the coming months and expects the hybrid system to be generating energy by early 2022.
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