Renewable hybrid system to power remote NT

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner and Gumatj Corporation's Klaus Helms with a GE hybrid power unit

A remote Indigenous-owned mine training centre in north-east Arnhem Land will feature the first commercial application of an innovative, off-grid hybrid energy solution developed by GE.

The GE designed renewable hybrid system is being showcased at this weekend’s Garma Festival, where it is being used to power the newly opened Gulkula Regional Training Centre.

The solution uses a mix of solar and battery storage coupled with small-scale diesel power generation to produce electricity, and is ideally suited for remote commercial and industrial operations.

It is digitally-connected with GE’s Predix-based Asset Performance Management software application which will allow for remote monitoring and diagnostics to ensure efficiency and reliability.

The Gulkula Regional Training Centre, which was established to drive higher levels of employment for Yolngu peoples, will take its first students in August.

Gumatj Corporation deputy chairman Djawa Yunupingu said GE’s innovative energy solution was part of making the training a reality.

“This mine training centre and mine operation is about helping Yolngu people develop specialised skills in mining to open up employment opportunities and better utilise the assets of our land,” Mr Yunupingu said.

“Through training and education, our vision is to create a sustainable future for the Yolngu people.

“We’re proud to officially open the training centre and mining operation at Garma this weekend, especially with GE’s hybrid energy solution which brings renewable solar power to our operation.”

North Arnhem Land is one of the remotest areas of Australia, making it challenging to access reliable and affordable electricity.

GE’s hybrid energy solution will provide a 30kW mini-grid using a combination of renewable and diesel power generation technologies to ensure it can deliver a reliable supply of electricity with up to 40 per cent lower operating costs than diesel-only generators.

The unit, which is enclosed in a 20-foot shipping container, will provide the training centre with 24/7 power for basic needs including air-conditioning and lighting.

“Implementation of this new innovative technology at Gulkula Regional Training Centre is exciting news and the first commercial application globally of GE’s new containerised hybrid energy solution,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

“It is great to see global innovators teaming up with local Aboriginal people to deliver cutting-edge technology.”