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More NT communities powered by renewable energy

David Prestipino -

A solar and battery microgrid installed in the remote Indigenous community of Titjikala in the Northern Territory has supplied an average of 83 per cent of renewable power for the town's needs during September.

Titjikala's 400 kilowatt solar array, integrated with a 970 kilowatt battery energy storage system, was installed through the Northern Territory Government's Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP), run by its Power and Water Corporation utility.

The remote town 130km south of Alice Springs is one of 25 communities powered through SETuP, integral to the NT government's efforts to reach 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

The government said this week the Titjikala community, home to 200 residents, had been powered by 100 per cent solar for an average of 20 hours a day during September, with the remainder covered by diesel engines.

SETuP has so far rolled out 10MW of solar to 25 communities across the NT through Power and Water subsidiary Indigenous Essential Services, which provides clean energy for around 1,750 remote houses.

The $59 million SETuP program is co-funded by the Federal Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and is the largest, isolated off-grid solar program for remote communities, providing significant savings on diesel and transport costs and reducing carbon emissions.

The total capacity of solar systems through SETuP is 10MW, with 9MW distributed among 56 communities and outstations and 1MW located at the Daly River facility, which combines the solar array with a 2MWh battery system alongside the existing diesel generator.

Solar generation targets of 15 per cent of capacity across the smaller sites have been met, while at Daly River the battery augmented system has exceeded its target with a contribution of more than 55 per cent renewable energy to the community and outstations.

The Clean Energy Regulator estimated savings on diesel would avoid 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over SETuP's 25-year lifespan.

NT Renewables Minister Nicole Manison said Titjikala was a renewable energy success story, providing safe, reliable and environmentally-friendly power to the community.

"The government wants a future powered by renewable energy, creating green jobs and driving down emissions," she said.

"With our abundant solar resources, we can create permanent and stable energy solutions that decarbonise our regional and remote areas."

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