Solar-plus-storage Powers an Mining Town in Australia

The remote Australian town of Jabiru, in the heart of Kakadu National Park, has achieved 100% solar photovoltaic power as the new Jabiru hybrid renewable energy power station is finalized.

The Australian town of Jabiru, once a mining town, is now powered entirely by solar photovoltaics. Queensland-based energy producer Energy Developments Limited (EDL) has completed construction of an A$77 million ($54.8 million) off-grid integrated hybrid power station. The power station is designed with solar power plus battery storage, and uses diesel fuel generators as auxiliary.

EDL chief executive James Harman said the town had previously been powered by diesel generators linked to the now defunct Ranger uranium mine – until earlier this week, powered by solar PV as part of the final commissioning of the new hybrid power station has been fully realized.

Harman said, “The Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Power Station is now providing stable and reliable electricity to the town, with at least 50% renewable energy in the long term, enabling the community to achieve their role as an eco-sustainable tourism and cultural hub for the region. Center’s Vision.”

EDL will own and operate the new off-grid power system, which includes a 3.9MW solar farm and a 3MW/5MWh battery storage system, supported by 4.5MW diesel generators.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner called the commissioning of the power station a “milestone” for the region. “Jabiru is the first town in the region to be powered by 100 percent solar all day,” he said, adding that the renewable power stations would provide “better and more reliable service”.

The town of Onslow in Western Australia has achieved a similar achievement ahead of this milestone of 100% solar PV. State-owned utility Horizon Power has successfully used renewable energy to power the Pilbara community during the trial operation of the Onslow Distributed Energy Resource (DER) project. Horizon disclosed that the power will come from 600kW of utility solar photovoltaics and 700kW of rooftop solar, backed by battery technology.

For EDL, the Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Power Station is based on the successful deployment of the 56MW Agnew Gold Mine Microgrid Project in the Northern Goldfields of Western Australia. The Agnew microgrid integrates a 4MW solar array, 18MW wind farm and 13MW/4MWh battery energy storage system, complemented by a 21MW gas/diesel engine power station. EDL has also signed a contract to build, own and operate a 4MW solar power plant and a 4MW/4MWh battery storage system. The system will be connected to the existing microgrid at Weipa on the West Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. The new solar power station and battery storage system will complement the existing 1.7MW solar farm and connect directly to the Weipa grid, helping to provide mining giant Rio Tinto’s Weipa bauxite and processing facility and surrounding communities Provide reliable power. The project is expected to complete construction later this year.

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