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Renewable future one step closer for the Tiwi Islands

Giovanni Torre -

A renewables future is one step closer for the Tiwi Islands, with construction underway at the Wurrumiyanga Solar Infill and Energy Storage Pilot Project.

Wurrumiyanga is home to over 2000 people, and it will soon be powered by 50 per cent renewable energy.

The Territory government is investing $6.1 million into the project, which will deliver 1.2 megawatts of additional solar PV to the community, and a Battery Energy Storage System with a capacity of 3 megawatt hours.

Local and Australian 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 aging diesel infrastructure and dated solar PV technology.

The NT government described it as "an important step forward" in delivering renewable energy for Wurrumiyanga and "changing the way power is generated across our communities".

Member for Arafura Manuel Brown said on Monday that it "is great to see our 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 NT rely on diesel powered generators through Territory Labor's remote power system strategy, a strategy which is changing lives in our most remote communities," he said.

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

NT Minister for Renewables, Nicole Manison said the pilot program in Wurrumiyanga is a key step towards the 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," she 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."

5B Chief Strategy Officer Nicole Kuepper-Russell said the company is proud to be part of the project.

"Our latest generation high-wind resilient 5B Maverick - wind rated up to 72 metres per second - is specifically designed for cyclone prone regions like the Tiwi Islands. It is also fast to deploy in remote regions, a deployment team of four unfolded the 1.2 MW 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," she said.

"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."

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