Horizon Power is forging ahead with renewable energy solutions for remote Aboriginal communities, with construction well underway on a solar farm and battery storage solution in Kalumburu.
Kalumburu is the furthermost permanent settlement along the remote Kimberley coast. It has traditionally been home to two distinct Aboriginal language groups, the Kwini (Kuini) and Kulari.
The community’s only power source to date has been from diesel generators, but all of this is about to change, with Horizon Power installing a 700kW solar farm and a 1.78MWh battery to deliver a clean, green energy supply to the approximately 400 residents.
Diesel generation will still be required, but the new solar and battery solution will enable the power station to run completely on renewable energy during the day, when weather conditions are favourable.
Overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions and recent wet weather conditions, the project has seen Horizon Power working closely with Perth-based contractor Western Australian Alternative
Energy to deliver renewable energy infrastructure to this remote location.
It is the first step into the energy future for a total of six Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley, as part of Horizon Power’s Remote Communities Centralised Solar Project. This will see centralised solar and/or battery energy storage systems installed in Kalumburu, Warmun, Ardyaloon, Beagle Bay, Djarindjin, and Bidyadanga.
The project will deliver significant environmental benefits to these communities, with an expected reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in Kalumburu and Warmun of an estimated 1290 tonnes a year, which is the equivalent of taking more than 270 cars off the road.
Construction is scheduled for completion in Kalumburu in November this year, with commissioning to follow through to early next year. Community engagement is ongoing in the other five communities, with Warmun expected to be the next location for construction kick-off.
“One of Horizon Power’s guiding principles is to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through investment in our remote and regional communities,” Horizon Power Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Unwin said.
“Transitioning these communities from fossil fuel generation to cleaner, greener energy will not only benefit the environment in these iconic locations. There are also
economic benefits to the communities, as a number of community members are being employed during the cultural surveying and construction phases.”
“We are extremely grateful to the Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation for its support, and to the local residents for hosting the project team in their beautiful location while the work takes place,” Ms Unwin said.