Key contract awarded with Bathurst Island to boost renewables


Sydney-headquartered Circular Solutions has been awarded the design and construct tender to install a 1.1 MW solar farm coupled with a 3 MWh battery energy storage system that will boost the renewable energy supply for the small town of Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island, part of the Tiwi Islands about 80 kilometres northwest of Darwin.

The $6.1 million Wurrumiyanga Solar Infill and Energy Storage Pilot Project is part of the broader Renewable Remote Power Program which will see the Northern Territory (NT) government invest $8.6 million over four years to advance the delivery of clean electricity to remote communities across the territory.

The NT government said Wurrumiyanga’s new off-grid power plant will displace some of the town’s current diesel generated power supply with renewables, with works expected to be completed by April 2024.

NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said Wurrumiyanga is already home to an existing PV array but the new installation will “significantly increase” the energy generated by solar with renewables expected to provide almost 50% of the community’s electricity needs.

“The community is already operating some solar technology but we want to do more,” she said. “We’re going to replace some of the current diesel generated power supply with renewable tech.”

“In simple terms, it means the percentage of renewable energy in the community will increase by almost 50%.”

NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles, right, and Energy Minister Selena Uibo on Bathurst Island.

Image: Natasha Fyles

Fyles said the Wurrumiyanga project will not only benefit the local community but will also help the Territory achieve its net zero targets with the lessons learned during the delivery of the pilot project to be extended to other remote communities.

“The project is an important part of our plan to hit 50% renewables by 2030, including a 70% target in all remote communities supplied by IES (Indigenous Essential Services),” she said.

Fyles said the government will invest $2 million over the next two years to roll out renewable energy solutions in remote communities, with solar systems, batteries and green hydrogen set to replace diesel generators in 73 communities supplied by IES.

The NT government said the commitment has already resulted in a framework to deliver renewable energy systems, including solar systems, batteries and green hydrogen to replace diesel generators in 73 communities supplied by IES.

The government said work is progressing on the detailed analysis of each IES community to map the optimal renewables development pathway, considering, among other things, the design and configuration of existing energy assets, electricity demand profiles and forecast growth.

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