Jabiru has been powered by solar power for the first time, the government says, following the construction of the Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Power Station which started operating this month – part of a sweeping plan government-funded township rejuvenation director.
Queensland-based power producer Energy Developments Ltd (EDL) is the developer, owner and operator of the Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Power Station, which was awarded a $77.2 million contract by the Territorial Government North in June 2020.
“The Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Power Plant now provides the city with stable and reliable energy that is at least 50% renewable over the long term, enabling the community to realize its vision of being an environmentally sustainable tourism and cultural center for the region,” said EDL CEO James Harman.
It uses a hybrid model of solar, battery and diesel generation, and its operation will see the equivalent of 1,600 cars taken off the road each year, the company said.
This is the first project to be completed in Jabiru as part of the master plan to transform the township into a center for tourism and services.
The NT government said construction of the power station employed around 300 locals, including Djurrubu Rangers who were employed to help with land clearing and cultural and environmental management.
Residents were also employed as part of the operational phase, the government added, but did not provide a total.
The power station is part of the $135.5 million budget allocation to rebuild Jabiru over a four-year period.
“We are investing millions in Jabiru to turn it into the tourism and services center we know it is well placed for,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.
In July 2018, the Government of the Northern Territories and the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) unveiled their master plan for Kakadu, a plan that calls for spending $446 million from the federal and territorial governments, based on recommendations consultants from the Stafford Strategy Consultancy Group.
The GAC was raided by ORIC investigators in 2019, but the status of that investigation remains unclear. The NT government said this would not affect the money spent on Jabiru and Kakadu.
The money earmarked for the park included $174.1 million for infrastructure in the park and in Jabiru, $35.8 million in government funds for Jabiru airport, $21.9 million for the resource center of Bininj – supposed to support businesses and employment in land management, housing and management of living spaces, production of art and artefacts and language and cultural services – $16.2 million for a sector education and $8.3 million for an entertainment center.
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