The Australian energy sector recognises that Alice Springs is small enough to manage, big enough to matter.
Fifty energy experts from across Australia have converged in Alice Springs for A‑lab, an innovation lab hosted by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy (Intyalheme), a flagship project of Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA). November 7 – 8 will mark the first time an A‑Lab has been hosted in remote Australia. A‑Lab participants will work to solve challenges that constrain the integration of renewable energy into Australian power systems. Representatives from the Australian Energy Market Operator, CSIRO, Territory Generation and NT Utilities Commission and other research and industry organisations will attend the event.
The Alice Springs power system can provide valuable insights into incorporating more renewable energy into power systems around Australia and beyond. Alice Springs A‑Lab participants will work together to re-imagine and leverage the Alice Springs experience to support Australia’s transition to a low-carbon future.
The Alice Springs grid is a microcosm of larger power systems, including the National Energy Market (NEM), which services Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. To achieve the Northern Territory’s target of 50% renewables by 2030, Alice Springs anticipates that it must at least triple its solar photovoltaic capacity over the next decade. Presently, no additional large-scale solar can be easily integrated into the Alice Springs network due to a range of challenges that are forecast to affect the NEM in coming years. The size and isolation of the Alice Springs grid allows for rapid and affordable prototyping that can generate useful outcomes within two years.
Intyalheme General Manager Sara Johnston says A‑Lab is an opportunity for Alice Springs to play a starring role in solving renewable energy challenges that have national relevance.
Based in Alice Springs, Intyalheme occupies a unique space in the NT energy sector, working to bridge gaps in relationships, knowledges and technologies. Intyalheme brings people and opportunities together to support the increased uptake of renewable technologies and reduce reliance on conventional sources of power.
“A‑Lab is an exciting opportunity for Alice Springs to play a starring role in finding solutions to renewable energy challenges that have national relevance,” said Sara Johnston, General Manager of Intyalheme.
“Bringing power systems experts, innovative thinkers and technology vendors together for A‑Lab is an opportunity to explore, develop and test new ideas that will drive systemic change, in Alice Springs and nationally. We encourage creative thinking because the ideas generated at A‑Lab are going to inform real projects that will have a tangible impact on the NT energy landscape,” Ms Johnston said.