Ergon Energy has released Expressions of Interest (EIO) for a new project to deliver low-carbon or renewable generation services on Thursday Island and Bamaga as part of efforts to decarbonise remote communities.
Ergon Energy General Manager Renewables and Distributed Energy, Glenn Springall, said reducing the reliance on diesel power in isolated communities was good for the environment and made economic sense.
“Queensland has been leading the way in the renewable energy revolution, including community-scale solar solutions in some of the most remote parts of the state, like Doomadgee, Mapoon, Pormpuraaw, the Northern Peninsula Area, Birdsville and Bedourie,” Mr Springall said.
“At Thursday Island and Bamaga, we’re looking to partner with interested parties to investigate and then deliver reliable, cost-effective and safe low-carbon, carbon-neutral or renewable generation solutions.
“Options might include inverter-based renewables, energy storage, hydrogen or biofuels – we’re seeking viable technical solutions that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut the cost of supplying electricity in these isolated communities without impacting reliability.”
Ergon supplies electricity to more than 1,400 customers on Thursday Island, where annual energy use is around 24,600MWh. At Bamaga, around 830 customers use more than 13,300MWh of power a year.
Ergon owns and operates 33 isolated networks in Queensland communities too remote to connect to the national electricity grid.
Centralised diesel power stations are the main source of generation and more than 30 million litres of fuel is transported to these sites every year, but the transition to renewables is already well underway.
“Reducing diesel consumption and increasing the supply of renewable energy are the keys to a low-carbon future and this expression of interest reflects that goal, which will ultimately benefit all Queenslanders,” Mr Springall said.
“The combined capacity of Ergon’s remote diesel power stations is 46MW, its existing renewable energy resources have an installed capacity of 1MW and customer-owned distributed energy resources are capable of supplying 4.4MW.
“We’re heading in the right direction in our isolated communities, but we need to tip the scales to reach the goals outlined in our Low Carbon Future Statement, which supports the Queensland Government’s renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030.”
Expressions of Interest are now open and close at 1:30pm on Monday 7 June 2021.