NT’s Bathurst Island opens tenders for ‘alternative power station’; solar and wind set to replace diesel

The Northern Territory’s Bathurst Island is set to switch from diesel fuel to solar and/or wind, with the launch of a request for tender to supply and install a renewable energy generation system.

The call for proposals was launched by the Australian Defence Department, which has a Tactical Air Defence Radar Site located on the island, north of Darwin.

Bathurst Island is home to Australia’s Tiwi community, and is also a key tactical location for the Australian Navy; during the bombing of Darwin in World War II, inhabitants of Bathurst were first to spot the incoming Japanese planes.

The largest settlement on the island is Wurrumiyanga, in the south-east, with a population of around 1,450. Currently, it powered mostly by imported diesel fuel.

Back in the mid-1990s, a team of scientists from the Northern Territory University and the Northern Territory’s Power and Water Authority looked at the possibility of using tidal generation to power the island.

The current request for the detailed design of an “alternative power system” – potentially including wind and solar sources – followed by its supply and installation, is the latest attempt to provide a cheaper and more secure fuel source.

The new renewables system, which would need to be at least 100kW in size, is to be connected to the existing electrical distribution system, as well as the existing diesel storage system.

Any project proposal must include supporting infrastructure, inverters, power distribution equipment, batteries, generators, climate control and control systems.

Training of on-site personnel in the operation and maintenance of the new generation system would also be a requirement of any tender.

The closing date for tenders is January 30, 2015.

Top image: Bathurst Island, via Google Maps

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