ADF looks to solar, wind to power NT Bathurst Island

The Australian Department of Defence has launched a request for tender to supply and install a renewable energy generation system to power Bathurst Island, north of Darwin.

The Northern Territory island is home to Australia’s Tiwi community, and is also a key tactical location for the country’s armed forces; during the bombing of Darwin in World War II, inhabitants of Bathurst were first to spot the incoming Japanese planes.

The island – which is mainly powered by costly and polluting diesel fuel generation – now houses a Tactical Air Defence Radar Site.

ADF radar facility, Bathurst Island
ADF radar facility, Bathurst Island

Back in the mid-1990s, a team of scientists from the Northern Territory University and the Northern Territory’s Power and Water Authority looked at the possibility of using tidal generation to power the island.

The current request for the detailed design of an “alternative power system” – potentially including wind and solar sources – followed by its supply and installation, is the latest attempt to provide a cheaper and more secure fuel source.

The new renewables system, which would need to be at least 100kW in size, is to be connected to the existing electrical distribution system, as well as the existing diesel storage system.

Any project proposal must include supporting infrastructure, inverters, power distribution equipment, batteries, generators, climate control and control systems.

Training of on-site personnel in the operation and maintenance of the new generation system would also be a requirement of any tender.

The largest settlement on Bathurst Island is Wurrumiyanga, in the south-east, with a population of around 1,450.

The closing date for tenders is January 30, 2015.


4 responses to “ADF looks to solar, wind to power NT Bathurst Island”

  1. John Avatar

    I wonder if Carnegie Wave Energy will lodge a response for the Tender. Otherwise, it would probably just be an over-sized battery storage solution with some solar generation.

    1. Alen T Avatar
      Alen T

      My guess is that the 100 kW capacity is too small for it to be worthwhile and profitable for Carnegie to deploy its CETO technology

      1. John Avatar

        Yeah, the CETO 5 model is rated for 240 kW and once CETO 6 rolls out that’s 1 MW so they would be aiming for large generation for their eventual grid connection.

        Should be interesting to see who is awarded the tender.

  2. Miles Harding Avatar
    Miles Harding

    With expensive shipped diesel being replaced, wind and solar should have little issue making a compelling case.

    One concern I have are cyclones. The Tiwi islands score a direct hit every few years with wind speeds exceeding 250kph, quite a challenge for any built structures.

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