RePower Alice Springs Urges Renewable Energy Taskforce to put forward ambitious targets

RePower Alice Springs is urging community members to have their say on the NT Government’s Roadmap to Renewables and is advocating for 100% renewable energy for Alice Springs by 2030. 

The NT Government has committed to adopt a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and has engaged an independent panel of experts chaired by Mr Alan Langworthy to inform a ‘Roadmap to Renewables’ report. 

RePower Alice Springs welcomes this commitment and has made the following submission to the Taskforce to promote its vision of a rapid transition to 50% and beyond to meet the full potential of renewable energy generation in Alice Springs.

“RePower Alice Springs is committed to securing a 100% renewable energy future for Alice Springs, and we see the NT Roadmap to Renewables as an important step in that process. We urge the taskforce to advocate for ambitious targets and actions across the Territory and we encourage community members to make further submissions to share their ideas for securing a renewable energy future in Alice Springs,” said Repower Alice Springs spokesperson Lou Stanley.

Public submissions to the Northern Territory Roadmap to Renewables are being accepted until the end of April and RePower Alice Springs is urging community members to have their say on the territory’s energy future. 

Community members can send submissions in writing to dcm.renewableenergy@nt.gov.au no later than 30 April 2017. The terms of reference can be found at https://roadmaptorenewables.nt.gov.au/terms-of-reference 

 

RePower Alice Springs Submission to the Northern Territory Renewable Energy Panel

Introducing RePower Alice Springs

RePower Alice Springs was formed in February 2016 by a group of residents who are committed to seeing Alice Springs reach the full potential of renewable energy generation. RePower initially formed in response to the Giles government $75 million investment in gas with no accompanying investment in renewable energy and no community consultation.

Since then, RePower has built a campaign for a transition to greater renewable energy, meeting with Territory energy utilities and government ministers and facilitating local community engagement on renewable energy issues.

RePower Alice Springs believes that achieving 100% renewable energy in Alice Springs by 2030 is both achievable and necessary to provide reliable, cost-effective and efficient energy into the future. This vision recognizes that Alice Springs has significant renewable potential due to the following factors:

  • Alice enjoys over 300 sunny days a year
  • Alice has higher than average solar irradiance
  • Alice has a uniquely isolated electrical grid
  • Alice has a history as a Solar City and unique knowledge and technical expertise
  • Alice is well placed to benefit from the rapidly reducing costs of solar PV and battery technology

The Northern Territory Renewable Energy Roadmap

RePower Alice Springs calls on the Renewable Energy Roadmap to put forward a clear strategy that ensures Alice Springs, and indeed the entire Territory, can meet the full potential of renewable energy generation. We demand ambitious targets and actions and a robust regulatory framework which provides incentives for greater uptake of, and removes current roadblocks to, greater renewable energy installation, increased efficiency and effective incentives for behaviour change such as cost-reflective tariffs.

RePower Alice Springs acknowledges that rooftop solar, commercial-scale solar, battery storage, investment in network stability, community-owned energy initiatives and energy efficiency are all essential elements to ensuring a greater proportion of renewable electricity generation in the Alice Springs grid. It is essential that the right policies and regulatory settings are put in place to enable maximum investment across each of these fields.

RePower also expects that Territory electricity customers should be provided a green energy option by the energy retailer.

In addition, RePower demands that the transition to greater renewable energy realises the fuel cost savings and local economic development opportunities from eliminating reliance on diesel and gas.

Regulatory and policy settings should enable improved local job and training opportunities and ensure that the benefits of a renewable future are accessible to low-income households, rental properties and public housing. 

Furthermore, we call on the panel to consider the extensive wealth of renewable energy knowledge and expertise in Alice Springs and consider opportunities that can sustain and develop the local solar industry, and ensure that Alice Springs can be a world-class solar centre.

Alice Springs also has opportunities as a research centre in solar and other technology, and can build on previous experience of the Desert Knowledge and Centre for Appropriate Technology. This integrates with the government’s goal of increasing population, and will attract educated and motivated young people with families to the town.

Incentives, costs and pricing

RePower Alice Springs expects that the Roadmap to Renewables will ensure the right incentives are in place to enable households, communities and small enterprise to rapidly take-up renewable energy generation options, at reducing cost. A few considerations regarding the Alice Springs grid include:

  • Privately funded electricity generation capacity in Alice Springs is in excess of $12 million, with solar PV providing about 12% of current electricity generation. The roadmap should consider the saving to the NTG this private investment has enabled (approximately $24m to date).
  • The 1:1 feed in tariff has enabled Alice residents to manage the costs and risk profile of solar installation (e.g. maintenance, insurance, damage, disconnections, system failure) – any changes to the feed in tariff will need to address these risk profiles to the 1000 households on the Alice Springs electricity network and ensure alternative and ongoing incentives for rapid uptake of solar.
  • As the cost of solar PV and batteries decreases residents’ uptake will increase. The roadmap will need to ensure that the price of electricity across the territory will stay competitive and ensure that the cost-benefits of a transition to renewable will be shared by all Territorians. Social justice, environmental and sustainability objectives can be met through the right incentives, leading to long-term benefits in all these domains.

Promising examples of innovation for potential deployment in Alice Springs 

RePower Alice Springs is calling on the Panel to ensure that the conditions are right in the Northern Territory to deploy innovative and cost-effective technologies in Alice Springs, as well as develop new technologies and systems suitable for local conditions with potential for implementation elsewhere. Promising examples include:

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