The Northern Territory Government, through Indigenous Essential Services, provides electricity to 72 remote towns across the Northern Territory.
The network includes 51 power stations, consisting of:
- 26 diesel generators
- 23 diesel generators supplemented with solar
- one diesel generator supplemented with solar and energy storage
- one gas power station.
Diesel engines are the main technology used to generate electricity for regional and remote Aboriginal communities, with around 25 million litres of diesel used each year.
The operating costs from purchasing and transporting diesel to remote areas is relatively high, and there are also negative impacts on local environment, health, amenity and climate change.
The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit identified the opportunity to leverage new local energy supply solutions that either replace or complement diesel generation in remote and regional areas.
The Northern Territory Remote Power System Strategy set a target for 70% renewable electricity generation for Indigenous Essential Services communities.
This is expected to improve resilience, flexibility, reliability, amenity and sustainability of power infrastructure in remote Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory.
Potential options to address the initiative include a program of works to provide renewable energy or hybrid generation and new storage solutions for these remote towns, in partnership with the local communities.
Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).