NT makes powerful pledge
The NT Government has announced a push for a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.
An independent panel has handed down 11 recommendations in a ‘Roadmap to Renewables’ report, including a call to make renewable energy a central pillar of the NT Government's economic policy.
The plan would require the Territory to move away from its reliance on gas and diesel, which currently accounts for 96 per cent of its energy generation.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said solar power would become the region's main energy source, requiring a 46 per cent increase solar generation over the next 13 years.
“The shift to renewable energy is inevitable,” he said.
“Increased investment in renewable energy creates jobs, and delivering cheap and reliable energy for businesses and families is a boost for economic development and population growth.”
The Government has not released economic modelling outlining how much the transition will cost, but Mr Gunner said there would not be extra expenses for taxpayers.
“I see this very much about how we guide the infrastructure investment we were going to make over the next 12 years anyway into renewables, but also provide that opportunity for the private sector to buy in,” he said.
The recommendations include changing market rules to encourage business investment.
The government has put up $4.5 million to fund co-contribution grants of up to $1,000 for households to increase their use of renewable energy, in the form of installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, batteries, solar pool pumps, smart meters, efficient lighting, solar hot water, energy efficient appliances, and efficiency audits.
“An important part of this initiative will be partnering with community groups to deliver educational and awareness campaigns about being energy smart,” Mr Gunner said.
It is also providing $750,000 to the Territory's Power and Water Corporation to create a new system model.
The report’s author Alan Langworthy said the 2030 timeframe is achievable.
“Private investment and supply competition is desirable to encourage downward pressure on wholesale electricity costs,” he said.
“The proposed energy and capacity market design, currently being developed by the Northern Territory Government, which is based on competitive bidding for long term supply contracts, is endorsed.”