PWC Microgrid Futures Study
The NT’s Power & Water Corporation engaged GPA to study the feasibility of installing renewable power across 20 remote community microgrids across the Northern Territory. Remote power systems are traditionally powered by diesel generators and present a significant challenge to the energy transition. The selected sites were a mix of desert, coastal, island communities powered by diesel, diesel-solar hybrids, or at the end of network grids. The Northern Territory has set a goal of achieving 50% renewable energy by 2030, with a goal of 70% for their IES sites, prominently by solar PV installations. Establishing the feasibility of installing renewable energy systems at these remote sites is a first step to reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
GPA completed a technological assessment of the 20 microgrids and presented concepts for solar PV and BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems) to be installed to augment the various diesel-based power stations. Each community site was unique and the economic viability for each community was assessed, dependent on various sensitivities such as diesel pricing, equipment costs, and considerations around land availability and electrical tie-in. GPA used the optimized power system models to provide key financial metrics, which identified priority sites with opportunities for detailed engineering and increased renewable power.
GPA successfully delivered the feasibility study which consisted of:
- 22 standalone reports
- 40 SLDs
- 20 site layouts
- 20 +/-30% cost estimates
- 20 risk registers
- more than 80 HOMER Pro models
- 108 sensitivity cases for each community, and a further 20 results sheets.
A cost to serve model was also developed based on historical operating records. GPA was able to categorize key operating costs and identify fixed costs and costs dependent on diesel generator operating hours. The works completed by GPA successfully delivered the studies which are now informing DITT and PWC’s plans to convert 70% of remote sites to renewables by 2030. GPA were commended for the contributions of their wider team.