Remote grid-connected, distributed generation, renewable – Northern Territory, Australia

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The site
Kings Canyon is a high-profi le tourist resort in Central Australia’s Watarrka National Park in the arid zone. The remote resort previously relied on a diesel-fuelled power station.

Technology
Peak power demand in the Northern Territory closely matches solar availability, with the peak occurring early afternoon. The PV system provides peak load and is run in tandem with a smaller diesel engine. Battery storage is not required since the diesel engines supplement
the power output of the PV system, resulting in signifi cant economic savings. In addition to Advanced Energy Systems, the Northern Territory Centre for Energy Research contributed to development of the project concept and overall design and was responsible for technical
aspects.

“Sustainable energy is a critical issue for remote tourism
operations such as Kings Canyon Resort. The hybrid solar/diesel
system that now powers the resort will lower greenhouse gas
emissions and reduce diesel fuel consumption by up to 105,000
litres per year, ensuring that the hundreds of thousands
of visitors who travel there have as little impact on the
environment as possible.”

Grant Hunt, Chief Executive Offi cer, Voyages Hotels & Resorts.

Energy purchase and supply
The solar plant is expected to produce 372,000 kWh of electricity per annum. Power generated from the project is fed into the Kings Canyon grid. The generator is an accredited generator under the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) Scheme. The Kings Canyon Solar Power Station is expected to save 331 tonnes per annum of greenhouse gas
emissions and save as much as 105,000 litres of diesel fuel.

Future outlook
This project and the Bulman Solar Power Station are pilot projects for the Power and Water Corporation in order to assess the commercialisation of future remote solar projects and load profi le conditions across the Territory.

Funding arrangements and acknowledgements
The Kings Canyon ($2.9 m) and Bulman ($0.9 m) PV Solar Power Stations received total funding of $1.76 million from the Australian Government through the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program and the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program
(RRPGP). Power and Water Corporation provided the balance of the funding, and RRPGP monies were administered by the Northern Territory Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development.

Owner: Power and Water Corporation
Capacity: 225 kWp
Location: Kings Canyon, Watarrka National Park, 480 km south-west of Alice Springs
Commissioned: November 2003
Capital Cost: $2.9 million
Construction Contractor: Suntech, Alice Springs; Ecoenergy, Alice Springs
Operator: Power and Water Generation

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