Construction is underway at the Wurrumiyanga Solar Infill and Energy Storage Pilot Project on the Tiwi Islands which, once completed, will provide 50 per cent of the energy needs of Wurrumiyanga’s 2,000 residents. 

The Northern Territory Government is investing $6.1 million into the project, which will deliver 1.2MW of additional solar PV to the community, and a battery energy storage system with a capacity of 3MWh.

Local company 5B is delivering the project, with earthworks and the installation of cyclone-resilient solar arrays now complete.

Facilitating a renewal of the community’s energy system is a key component to this project, which includes ageing diesel infrastructure and dated solar PV technology.

The Northern Territory Government has said that this is an important step forward in delivering advanced renewable energy for Wurrumiyanga and changing the way power is generated across its communities.    

The project is expected to be completed and operational by 2024, allowing the community to be powered by 50 per cent renewable energy.

This announcement comes as the remote community of Titjikala, south of Alice Springs was recently powered by 83 per cent renewable energy.

Northern Territory Minister for Renewables, Nicole Manison, said that this pilot program in Wurrumiyanga is an important step towards the Territory Government achieving its target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030, which includes an average of 70 per cent renewables in communities supplied by Indigenous Essential Services.

“We will keep doing the hard work as we push towards our target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050,” Ms Manison said. 

“A renewables future is now one step closer for the Wurrumiyanga community and we look forward to extending the lessons learnt from this project to other remote Territory communities.”

Member for Arafura Manuel Brown said that it is great to see the largest community on Bathurst Island driving down emissions and creating stable reliable energy in line with the rest of the Territory.

“Soon we will see less and less communities around the Northern Territory rely on diesel powered generators through the Territory Government’s remote power system strategy, a strategy which is changing lives in our most remote communities,” Mr Brown said. 

5B Chief Strategy Officer, Nicole Kuepper-Russell, said that 5B is proud to be part of this important project that will deliver lower-cost cleaner energy, greater energy resilience, and employment opportunities. 

“Our latest generation high-wind resilient 5B Maverick – wind rated up to 72m/s – is specifically designed for cyclone prone regions like the Tiwi Islands,” Ms Kuepper-Russel said. 

“It is also fast to deploy in remote regions, a deployment team of four unfolded the 1.2MW 5B solar farm on Bathurst Island in just four days, with mechanical installation, including unpacking, staging, cabling, the extra anchoring required for wind region C and clean up, taking less than two weeks.

“We’re working to replicate this rapid deployment model across other remote communities in the Territory and we welcome the government’s support in accelerating renewable energy projects and investments.”

Featured image: The Wurrumiyanga Solar Infill and Energy Storage Pilot Project from above. Image credit: Northern Territory Government.

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