NT solar following in SA’s footsteps

In its quest to achieve a 50 per cent renewables target by 2030, the Top End is set to install the second biggest battery in the world.

This announcement came as the government released an expression of interest for an energy storage battery with a capacity to deliver between 25 to 45 MW.

On completion, the battery will be ranked second globally after Tesla’s 100 megawatt lithium-ion storage battery set up in South Australia.

This move follows last years decision by the Australian Air Force to install a large solar and battery system at their NT base to reduce their reliance on diesel and cut costs.

Territory Generation which is a government-owned institution, is inviting designs for 25MW, 35 MW and 45 MW energy outputs. Additionally, TG expects the winning design to feature a battery storage capacity that would take 30 minutes.

Northern Territory’s massive battery hailed by energy experts

The NT battery project has been described by Dr Ariel Liebman of Monash University’s Energy Materials and Systems Institute as a “significant piece of kit”.

During his interview with ABC Radio, Dr Liebman said the storage battery would help the Northern Territory to hit its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

“Now that batteries are coming into their own, they’re cheaper than they used to be and they’re actually much faster-responding than thermal generators,” he said. “So it would add an additional tool to the toolkit of the power system operator.”

Rooftop solar uptake in NT expected to boom

NT Solar installs in Territory Generation is expected to rise as more and more households and businesses move to make the most of solar PV systems. Predictably, the increase will shift from the one in ten homes solar installation in 2015-16 to nearly one in three households over a period of eight years.

The NT also claims that a “growing number” of large-scale solar power systems are directly connected to the Darwin-Katherine electricity network. Currently, there are eight systems which carry a total capacity that exceeds the 100 MW mark.

Last October, the Northern Territory disclosed that solar PV systems would form part of its multi-million dollar capital works program.

The NT Power and Water program features 10 MW solar panels rolled out across 29 indigenous communities in the state’s remote areas. This new NT solar energy generation project is expected to cost about $55 million.

David Coucill from Power and Water said the works program will ensure efficient delivery of electricity and water services for all the residents of Territory.

Renewables–the roadmap to NT’s energy future

Come November 2017, the government published a report dubbed Roadmap to Renewables. Its main goal was clear; 50 per cent energy from renewables by 2030.

In addition, Michael Gunner the Chief Minister revealed a $4.5 million energy efficiency package set aside for NT’s households. The scheme is expected to offer co-contribution grants of $1,000 for those installing solar panels, solar hot water, smart meters and storage batteries.

According to the report, changing the feed-in tariffs to a “time of day” structure would greatly boost the uptake of rooftop solar.

This would help consumers to significantly cut their power bills during the time of the day when energy is most expensive. The report further stated that this would also encourage investment in NT solar storage.

Following this week’s grand-battery announcement, the Northern Territory is only a step away from becoming the next top national powerhouse for solar energy and storage in Australia.

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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