Jacana calls for supply of large-scale solar in the Territory


The Northern Territory (NT) government-owned Jacana Energy has announced it will open an expressions of interest (EOI) process for the private sector to build three 30-35 MW solar farms that it anticipates will commence operations from about 2027.

The EOI process calls on interested parties to consider connecting at specific locations within the greater Darwin area as the government looks to increase the amount of renewable energy supplied to Territorians.

“The EOI is the first step in a comprehensive process to procure and safely connect and commission more large-scale renewable energy closer to Darwin,” Jacana said, noting that the solar farms project will help the government achieve its renewable energy targets.

The government’s goal is for half of the Territory’s total energy needs to be met by renewable energy sources by 2030, with the proposed solar farms project expected to contribute as much as 15% towards that target.

“The addition of more large-scale solar is a major part of the Darwin-Katherine Electricity System Plan and our EOI is designed to procure renewable energy in way that aligns with this plan,” Jacana Energy Chief Executive Officer Louisa Kinnear said.

“Kicking off a procurement process now ensures that we will be able to make an investment decision that supports the delivery of renewable energy well before 2030.”

The EOI will open on 22 August 2023 with submissions required by 26 September 2023.

The launch of the EOI process comes despite about 60 MW of available large-scale solar remaining offline in the Territory.

Four solar farms that have been built in the NT in the past few years are yet to commence full operations as the developers look to navigate the technical code as outlined by the Territory government-owned Power and Water Corporation.

The Australian arm of Italian oil major Eni has developed a 25 MW facility near Katherine, and two 10 MW solar farms at Batchelor and Manton, south of Darwin. Victoria-based Merricks Capital also has a 10 MW facility at Batchelor.

The Katherine solar farm, that is coupled with a 6 MW battery, has started exporting small quantities but the others are still working their way through technical requirements.

The Power and Water Corporation has said that all four solar farms have had electrical connections constructed and energised and that it continued to support these solar generators through the completion of their on-grid commissioning.

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