Defence seeks 12.5MW solar for Darwin barracks, RAAF base | RenewEconomy

Defence seeks 12.5MW solar for Darwin barracks, RAAF base

Defence department seeks 15.5MW of solar for Darwin barracks, RAAF base to cut energy costs and boost energy security. More are planned.



The Australian Department of Defence is turning rapidly to renewables energy, with a new tender calling for a total of 12.5MW of solar for its Robertson Barracks in the Northern Territory and the RAAF base in Darwin.

Defence is seeking a 9.2MW solar PV array at the Robertson Barracks about 15kms east of the Darwin CBD and and a 3.2MW array at the RAAF base, also in Darwin.

Both installations will be located on site, with the department to strike a power purchase agreement with the winning tender, and the solar output to be used at the bases themselves rather than exported to the local grid.

The move follows a call for a smaller installation of 1.2MW of solar at a crucial communications base near Geraldton in Western Australia last month that was its first significant move into solar.

This is a bigger scale and more are planned as part of a major Defence push into renewables.

The goal, the tender documents say,  is to use solar PV is to reduce electricity costs, increase energy security, and reduce emissions.

And it wants to do the same thing at numerous other sites in the Northern Territory and elsewhere.

“Defence is the Commonwealth’s largest energy user and landholder, positioning Defence uniquely to be able to integrate renewable energy on its vast Estate,” the documents say,

“Defence has conducted an Estate Renewable Energy Assessment and a Detailed Renewable Energy Assessment, which has identified multiple Defence sites in the Northern Territory with Solar Photovoltaic (PV) array potential.”


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  1. Brunel 3 years ago

    Fabulous! I can not wait till Musk unveils Powerwall 3.0 and cuts the price of storage further.

    • Jo 3 years ago

      but you certainly know that battery storage is not the same as renewable energy

      • Brunel 3 years ago

        How else is renewable energy going to be stored for night use.

        • GlennM 3 years ago

          Night ? what is this Night thing….Remember it is always 12:00 Noon with the sun high some where on the planet. All we need is nice superconducting HVDC cable around the world and night will disappear for ever !!

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            ooooooh, expensive man, but it would work. Perhaps after 2050.

          • GlennM 3 years ago

            Just checked there is a 3400 km line under construction in China and a 5000 km line planned. So across Australia doable. That means when the sun goes down in the west it will be after the evening peak. Cost would be…about the same as a few Submarines 🙂

          • Joe 3 years ago

            Subs…. before Sun power would be The COALition thinking.

          • Brunel 3 years ago

            This is a military base. It would want a robust supply of electricity that can not be disrupted by destroying a UHVDC transmission line.

  2. George Darroch 3 years ago

    Defence are the perfect use-case for solar. Remote, primarily in sunny locations, with ample land and rooftops, high energy use, a need for energy independence and security, and with access to capital.

    I think that after installations are established we’ll start to see some of the bases go off-grid, but it makes sense for them to conservatively de-risk their projects now.

    Off topic: Why doesn’t the NT (or ACT) display on the sidebar widget?

    • George Darroch 3 years ago

      (I presume that the ACT’s rather small domestic solar production is counted in NSW for practical purposes).

  3. Mark Fowler 3 years ago

    This will not do! I am sure Matt Canavan could have found some NAIF dollars for a coal fired boiler.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      …and Matteo’s Coaler boilers using…dare I say it….Adani’s little black wonder rocks.

      • Mark Fowler 3 years ago

        Possibly – but first I think Scott is going to donate his lumps of coal as part of his efforts to return the budget to surplus.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          Scotty’s surplus…..of Coal? There is no credit in that.

    • Roger Franklin 3 years ago

      What – letting logical and economic analysis lead to decisions that result in renewable energy being selected just will not do. There are clearly going to be questions asked and heads will likely role.

      The Australian Department of Defence needs to sharpen up it’s act, get with the Mat/Scott/Josh/Mal (aka – Big Tony) program, and understand that coal is the answer. Next thing they will mention batteries…

      Nice – another nudge for the RE Express!

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