New weather station to support renewable energy industry
Sep 10, 2019
Alice Springs is one of four NT locations to host new state-of-the-art weather monitoring equipment.
The high resolution meteorological station installed within the Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre forms part of the Northern Territory Solar Resource Project (NTSR).
The NTSR project has also installed and commissioned weather stations in Darwin and Katherine, with an additional station at Tennant Creek to be completed and brought online soon. The locations were strategically selected to represent different climatic zones of the Territory.
The project was delivered by Alice Springs-based technical consultancy Ekistica, under contract to the not-for-profit, Indigenous-controlled Centre for Appropriate Technology.
Minister for Renewables, Energy and Essential Services the Hon. Dale Wakefield with Desert Knowledge Precinct Elder-in-Residence Harold Furber, DKA board member Rede Ogden, Eksitica managing director Lyndon Frearson and CfAT CEO Dr Steve Rogers at the NTSR weather station in Alice Springs.
“These stations are designed to gather high resolution, high quality, long-term data specifically relevant to renewable energy research and development in the Northern Territory,” said Ekistica’s managing director Lyndon Frearson.
“They also provide a means to validate other data sources, such as satellite models, allowing solar resource models to be refined for greater accuracy, reducing the technical risk new projects are exposed to.”
The Northern Territory Solar Resource project weather station, based at the DKA Solar Centre
“CfAT Ltd as a local Aboriginal company is proud to have been involved in the weather station project, an important investment in achieving the NT’s 50% by 2030 renewable energy target. Our role in constructing and installing the Central Australia weather station sites has provided employment and learning opportunities for our Facilities Management team and Aboriginal staff.”
Dr Steve Rogers, CEO
The stations measure wind speed and direction, ambient temperature, relative humidity and rainfall. Importantly, they also measure irradiance, providing a foundation for the renewable energy industry and developers to scope new projects, encouraging investment in the Territory.
Data from the NTSR project is now available to the public via the Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) Solar Centre website, which has streamed solar array performance data for the past decade. The DKA Solar Centre is an internationally recognised technology demonstration facility. It is jointly managed by DKA and Ekistica.
Site selection for the weather stations involved identifying organisations which were willing and able to provide land, as well as support for their ongoing operation.
The four weather stations can be found at:
- Desert Knowledge Australia Solar Centre, Alice Springs (Live)
- Katherine Research Station, Katherine (Live)
- Haileybury Rendall School, Darwin (Live)
- Juno Learning Centre, Tennant Creek (Coming Online Soon)
The NTSR project was funded through a Northern Territory Government grant under the renewable energy research and development funding program. Additional funding was provided by the Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, a flagship project of Desert Knowledge Australia.
DKA CEO Dr Dan Tyson said the NTSR project was a good example of how Intyalheme is addressing barriers to further renewable energy integration.
“Intyalheme connects government, industry and the community to form a collaborative network that supports the drive towards a renewable energy future in the Northern Territory,” Dr Tyson said.
“Alice Springs has a proud history of renewable energy projects, and it is great to see the DKA Solar Centre strengthen its position as a technical demonstration site of global significance.”
Minister for Renewables, Energy and Essential Services, the Hon. Dale Wakefield, officially launched the project at the Alice Springs weather station on Tuesday September 10. The event included a Welcome to Precinct from Elder-in-Residence Harold Furber.
Desert Knowledge Precinct Elder-in-Residence Harold Furber opened the NTSR project launch event at the Alice Springs weather station
“The Territory Labor Government’s number one priority is creating local jobs. Delivering 50% renewables by 2030 will deliver local jobs, and cheaper, cleaner power,” Minister Wakefield said.
“We have invested in four state of the art weather stations. The data from the weather stations — which includes measuring solar irradiance — is important information for solar energy investors. This data is being captured through cutting edge technology and will also provide a foundation for renewable energy research and development.
“To achieve our target, we are supporting the $40 million private sector investment in the 25MW Katherine Solar Farm project, and the $59 million joint investment with ARENA for the Solar SETuP program providing 10MW of solar across 25 remote communities.”