Construction on Australia’s largest rollout of solar to remote communities, the Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP), is now complete, delivering local jobs as well as cheaper and cleaner power.
SETuP is a $59 million program co-funded by the Territory Government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
The program was rolled out to 25 sites across the Northern Territory.
SETuP integrates 10MW of solar PV in remote locations with existing power stations, resulting in remote hybrid power generation. This reduces reliance on costly diesel for electricity generation, and delivers reliable and safe power to remote locations.
The primary goal of the program is to reduce diesel use by 15 per cent in targeted communities, which adds up to 94 million litres of diesel savings over the life of the program, which is 25 years.
The SETuP program was delivered by Power and Water Corporation and the existing funding agreement with ARENA will go through to April 2022 for performance reporting.
Minister for Renewables, Energy and Essential Services, Dale Wakefield, said, “The SETuP program is an important step forward in achieving the Territory Labor Government’s target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. SETuP will help to support cleaner power for Territorians in remote communities by reducing reliance on costly diesel, and also air pollution.
“ARENA is our partner in this significant program that will deliver for remote Territorians in decades to come. I thank them for their continued partnership and investment in the Territory.
“The SETuP program was delivered by Power and Water. The program has won engineering excellence awards and due to the hard work and innovation by staff, the Territory is now seen as a leader in remote hybrid power generation. I congratulate and thank all involved.”
ARENA CEO , Darren Miller, said, “This is a fantastic achievement for all involved in completing this ambitious project to deliver the largest rollout of renewable energy to remote, off-grid communities in the Northern Territory.
“By installing solar power systems across these 25 communities, this project will help these communities to reduce their reliance on diesel. Now integrated, these communities can increase their uptake of renewables and have the option to add batteries to store their solar energy in the future.
“SETuP is part of ARENA’s Regional Australia’s Renewables – Community and Regional Renewable Energy (CARRE) Program, where the agency works collaboratively with key regional energy suppliers and distributors to assess, plan, fund and share the results from projects like SETuP, with an aim to replicate the program’s successes across further communities.”
The 25 communities under the program include:
- Apatula (Finke)
- Atitjere (Hart’s Range)
- Daly River (PV)
- Galiwinku (Elcho Island)
- Gapuwiyak (Lake Evella)
- Gunbalanya (Oenpelli)
- Kaltukatjara (Docker River)
- Minjilang (Croker Island)
- Minyerri (Hodgson Downs)
- Mt Liebig
- Titjikala (Maryvale)
- Warruwi (Goulburn Island)
- Wurrumiyanga (Bathurst Island)
Lauren Butler is the assistant editor for Utility Magazine. She’s based in Melbourne, Australia.