Renewable energy is energy that is not depleted when used, such as solar, wind, wave, biomass, hydro, geothermal and tidal.
Solar is the most widely used renewable energy source in the Northern Territory due to the climate and geography. Solar is reliable, environmentally sustainable and becoming more cost effective, which is one of the reasons why Power and Water is gradually incorporating more solar across remote communities to reduce our reliance on diesel.
Hybrid Diesel-Solar power stations
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels convert solar energy into electricity reducing the reliance on diesel for energy production.
Power and Water has PV systems in four of its remote communities - Bulman, Ti-Tree, Kalkarindji and Lake Nash with a combined capacity of approximately one (1) megawatt (MW).
These solar power stations reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 1,200 tonnes each year. Solar panels at these sites are robust, transportable, easy to install and add about 30 per cent peak capacity to each hybrid power station. This allows smaller diesel engines to run more efficiently as the solar power speeds up peak load during the day.
The Solar SETuP project is rolling out 10MW of solar in up to 30 remote communities in the Northern Territory, which will reduce diesel consumption by 15 per cent across all communities. Please refer to our Solar SETuP page for further information.
Rooftop PV systems
A solar PV power system converts energy from sunlight into electrical energy. Residential solar PV systems can offset some of your household's power needs, depending on the size of the system and your household's needs. For more information about rooftop PV systems and Power and Water’s PV policy, refer to further information on our website.
Along with the solar power system, a wind energy system consisting of three 15kW wind turbines is installed at Alpurrurulam, operating overnight to supplement the high penetration solar power station that operates during the day. The combination of daytime solar and night time wind maximises the use of renewable energy at Alpurrurulam.
Methane gas is constantly being generated in landfill sites such as the Shoal Bay site in Darwin. A 1MW generator which generates electricity from this energy source has been installed by LMS Pty Ltd at Shoal Bay and has been connected to the grid since August 2005. The generator currently produces about 9,000MWh of renewable energy per annum and saves about 5,500 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
Methane gas is 20 times more harmful as greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. By capturing the gas and converting it to electricity the LMS generator is preventing methane from entering our environment.
Power and Water has installed a 5kW hydro turbine at Manton Dam, about 70km south east of Darwin. Manton Dam is currently Darwin's emergency water supply, and Power and Water supplies a continuous flow rate of 30 to 50 litres per second from the dam to Manton River to keep the river healthy throughout the dry season.
The Manton Dam hydro turbine was commissioned in February 2014 and supplies enough energy for four average Darwin homes.
Power and Water continues to engage with and encourage the development of renewable technologies including tidal, bio-fuels, wind, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic as well as investigating other emerging technologies such as energy storage in order to keep informed about the best available technologies to incorporate into our systems.