Hybrid technologiesProject NT Solar Energy Transformation Program
This report assists project developers to make informed solar/diesel hybrid system planning and design decisions for Australian installations.
Each year Power and Water Corporation’s (Power and Water) subsidiary Indigenous Essential Services (IES) supplies more than 100 GWh of energy to 72 indigenous communities spread throughout some of the most remote regions of the Northern Territory. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, these are classified as being Remote Australia or Very Remote Australia, highlighting the distance to reach major population centres in the country.
Due to their small scale and extreme distances from existing transmission networks, these communities are serviced by autonomous diesel generator power stations, and the reliance on diesel fuel makes delivery of reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity especially challenging. One of the most remote (in terms of distance) of these communities is Kaltukatjara (Docker River), located in the far South-Western corner of the Northern Territory, home to between 300 and 400 Anangu. To supply power at Kaltukatjara, 60,000 litres of diesel fuel is transported every eight weeks from Darwin, over more than 2,000 kilometres of highways and dirt tracks.
While the potential to displace fuel usage by integrating solar PV installations in these communities is well understood, historically such installations have been limited to annual Renewable Energy Fractions (REFs) of less than 5%, due to the relatively high cost of PV at the time and limited industry experience with ensuring a reliable supply during cloud events.