NT on track for 10% renewables by 2020, with two new solar farms announced

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Northern Territory government to build construction two new solar farms, totalling 20MW of capacity – a move it says will “catapult” its renewables share to 10% by year’s end.

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The Northern Territory government has announced construction of two new solar farms, totalling 20MW of capacity, a move it says will take its electricity grid to 10 per cent renewables by year’s end.

The NT Labor government said on Tuesday that the two projects – 10MW each – would help deliver the Territory’s 2030 goal of 50 per cent renewables on its electricity grids.

The solar farms at Batchelor and Manton Dam will be developed by Melbourne-based outfit Tetris Energy, and have a power purchase agreement with government-owned utility Jacana Energy and NT Solar Investments for the electricity and renewable energy certificates.

NT chief minister Michael Gunner said in a statement that Tetris would soon advance to construction of the solar farms, which would generate enough energy to power 5000 homes when completed in the second half of the year.

The new PV capacity, he said, would combine with the previously announced 25MW Katherine Solar Farm, and “catapult” the Territory’s share of renewables from the current 3 per cent to 10 per cent by 2020.

“We are delivering our election promise of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and that will create local jobs, and cheaper, cleaner, more reliable power, which benefits all Territorians.

“We have kept our promise to stabilise power prices after massive hikes under the CLP and by delivering cheaper and cleaner electricity, we will put downward pressure on electricity costs,” Gunner said.

“This private sector investment by Tetris Energy will take us to 10 per cent renewable energy by the end of the year, which is a huge step towards our renewable energy target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030,” added NT renewables minister Dale Wakefield.

“The Territory Labor government knows the NT can be the solar capital of Australia. That’s why we have secured $43 million in private investment which will create up to 70 local jobs and will mean by the end of the year we will … (be) well on our the way to 50% target by 2030”

Melbourne-based Tetris Energy, which just this week announced the sale of its 30MW Mannum Solar Farm under development in South Australia, said it was excited by the opportunity the PPA provided.

This will be an important enabler in moving towards construction at the end of the wet season,” said Tetris Energy director, Frank Boland.

“Jacana Energy customers located all over the Darwin-Katherine network will receive the benefits of clean renewable electricity. By using the latest in single axis tracking Solar PV technology, it will allow the plants to generate more power in the mornings and evenings.”

Boland said the company expected the solar projects to provide around 70 local jobs during construction, as well as ongoing local roles for service and maintenance.

“Tetris Energy has collaborated with Infigen Energy to advance the development of the Manton Dam and Batchelor Solar Projects,” he said.

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