The Northern Territory government has installed more than 10,000 solar panels across 10 remote Aboriginal communities in a bid to provide a more secure energy supply and combat climate change.
Labor says greenhouse gas emissions from over one million litres of diesel fuel will be saved each year following the integration of the panels into the power supply of each community.
They’ll provide an average of 5000 kilowatts per hour each day to power more than 570 households, with another 12 communities in line to receive panels, Chief Minister Michael Gunner says.
The $27 million investment will contribute to Labor’s target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 by reducing carbon emissions and creating a platform for greater use of solar in the future.
“Investing in renewables means we are protecting our economy, our lifestyle, our quality of life and our unique and spectacular natural environment,” Mr Gunner said in Ramingining on Monday.
“Major economies around the world are increasing the use of renewable energy sources to avoid the economic, social and environmental implications associated with the use of fossil fuels.”
Essential Services Minister Gerry McCarthy said the facilities would reduce the reliance on diesel by 15 per cent, which required fewer fuel trucks wearing down the Territory’s largely unsealed roads and provided a more secure energy supply.
“Local jobs were created for Aboriginal rangers to conduct flora and fauna surveys and weed management, as well as land clearing and construction,” he said.
Mr McCarthy says there’ll be no changes to power bills for consumers with the scheme, as any savings will be reinvested into costly remote delivery of electricity which is already subsidised.
The government is contributing $27 million to the $55 million program, which is jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
FIRST REMOTE NT COMMUNITIES TO RECEIVE SOLAR PLANTS:
* Nyirripi (Waite Creek)
* Kaltukatjara (Docker River)
* Mt Liebig