Displacing Diesel

Jurisdiction: Northern Territory

How might we use data and technology to displace all diesel in the Territory?

The Territory is highly reliant on diesel for domestic, commercial and industrial use in remote areas. The high cost of diesel and risks in transporting to remote areas create significant opportunities.

For example, each year Power and Water Corporation’s (Power and Water) subsidiary Indigenous Essential Services (IES) supplies more than 100 GWh of energy to 72 indigenous communities spread throughout some of the most remote regions of the Northern Territory. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, these are classified as being Remote Australia or Very Remote Australia, highlighting the distance to reach major population centres in the country.

Due to their small scale and extreme distances from existing transmission networks, these communities are serviced by autonomous diesel generator power stations, and the reliance on diesel fuel makes delivery of reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity especially challenging. One of the most remote (in terms of distance) of these communities is Kaltukatjara (Docker River), located in the far South-Western corner of the Northern Territory, home to between 300 and 400 Anangu. To supply power at Kaltukatjara, 60,000 litres of diesel fuel is transported every eight weeks from Darwin, over more than 2,000 kilometres of highways and dirt tracks.

While the potential to displace fuel usage by integrating solar PV installations in these communities is well understood, historically such installations have been limited to annual Renewable Energy Fractions (REFs) of less than 5%, due to the relatively high cost of PV at the time and limited industry experience with ensuring a reliable supply during cloud events.

Much of the land and sea transport in the Territory is dependent on diesel also.

What technologies are available today to displace diesel and at what cost in today’s dollars would it cost to displace all diesel using these technologies?

Additional Information:

Relevant links:

NT SETuP: A First Look at The Integration of PV and Diesel Power Stations in Remote Communities
Northern Territory renewable hydrogen master plan

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Fleet and traffic data from the Northern Territory Open Data portal

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