The Northern Territory Labor Government has released the NT renewable energy roadmap paving a path towards achieving a 50 percent target by 2030.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he has accepted “in principle” all 11 recommendations of the Roadmap to Renewables report.
He said the world is making a transition to renewable energy, and the report will set the NT on the same road.
NT renewable energy goal needs another 450MW
The Northern Territory is well placed to transition to a larger renewable energy mix, the report finds. But it will take careful planning and regulation to increase from the current 4 percent renewable generation to the proposed 50 percent.
Reaching the target would require a 450 megawatt-peak of additional renewable energy capacity on regulated networks. This additional capacity could be accommodated on 700 hectares of land.
The government will contract Power Water Authority to develop a new model for delivering renewable energy into the grid. It’s providing the utility with $750,000 to ensure energy supply remains stable as more renewables come online.
“We want to ensure that market rules and technical requirements are clear and transparent so businesses have the confidence to invest and create jobs,” Mr Gunner said.
Bonuses for households under 50% renewable target
Releasing the report, Mr Gunner announced a $4.5 million energy efficiency package for households. The scheme provides co-contribution grants of $1,000 for the installation of solar panels, battery systems, smart meters and solar hot water.
To boost the uptake of rooftop solar power, the report recommends altering feed-in tariffs to a “time of day” structure. This allows consumers to reduce their energy costs during the most expensive times of the day. It would also encourage greater adoption of solar storage, the report states.
In addition, the government should harness its buying power to purchase electricity from suppliers of renewable energy.
NT gas fleet can help, not hinder, renewable transition
The report finds the Northern Territory’s aging gas power network could be an asset in achieving its renewable goals. Increased renewables, rather than stranding old gas turbines, can benefit from fast response to fill supply.
By providing baseload response to intermittent renewable energy sources, gas power can facilitate a smoother transition to renewable energy.
“Our abundance of renewable resources and our existing gas power infrastructure puts us in the box seat,” Mr Gunner said.