Solar and batteries are set to be installed at the Central Power House in remote Umuwa, to provide South Australian communities on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands with cheaper, cleaner power.

South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said the $9 million contract to upgrade Umuwa will transition the community from being solely reliant on diesel generators to cheaper, cleaner renewable generation.

“Last financial year, the Central Power House at Umuwa consumed about 2.8 million litres of diesel to supply electricity to APY customers – that’s more than an olympic swimming pool of diesel fuel,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

“The current reliance on diesel at Umuwa means that the State Government spends about $3.6 million on diesel fuel and associated transport costs, creating 7.6 million tonnes a year of carbon dioxide pollution.

“When completed, the upgraded Central Powerhouse will be fitted with 3MW of solar photovoltaic panels and 1MW of battery storage to deliver 4.4GW hours a year.

“The installation of the renewable energy system will deliver about 40 per cent of the total power required.

“As well as a lower carbon footprint and a substantial reduction in costs associated with diesel use and freight, this upgrade will introduce more advanced technologies to improve reliability at the remote site.

“This remotely monitoring technology means that we can detect faults in real time, so that we can reduce the length of unplanned outages and increase the reliability of supply.”

Mr van Holst Pellekaan added that during the construction phase of the Central Power House upgrade about 30-40 jobs will be created, with Next Generation Electrical committing to engage with local indigenous businesses to deliver 30 per cent of the on-site labour hours in the delivery of this project.

“This remote infrastructure upgrade will foster the development of local skills and give APY community members the opportunity to be involved in the development of electrical infrastructure projects,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

“This is a great example of building back better, providing stimulus to create jobs and skills, and reduce costs and pollution.”

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