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Article

20 Jun 2024

Author:
Kathy Hitchens, Microgrid Knowledge

Australia: Indigenous community completes solar microgrid for clean energy and employment opportunities

"First Nations Community-Owned Microgrid Launched in Australia" 12 June 2024

In the remote Barkly region of Australia’s Northern Territory, about halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin, sits the small First Nations outstation of Marlinja. Home to roughly 60 people, the outback community recently celebrated the launch of what it says is the first First Nations-owned grid-connected solar microgrid in Australia...

The microgrid includes a 100 kW solar array and a 136 kWh battery and took five years to complete as community members and Original Power, the non-profit developer for the project, navigated the design, fundraising, installation and commissioning process...

Remote First Nations communities in the region are plagued by energy insecurity and high energy prices...

In 2019, Original Power, a community-focused Aboriginal organization, partnered with the Marlinja residents to develop a renewable energy solution that would provide not only low cost, clean energy but also long-term employment opportunities for community members who will operate and maintain the microgrid...

"We are looking forward to seeing the lessons from the Marlinja microgrid development adopted by government and industry in a wider roll-out of community determined renewables to support a faster, fairer energy transition in which First Nations communities play a vital partnership role in project delivery,” said Karrina Nolan, executive director of Original Power.