Two remote indigenous communities in Western Australia’s Fitzroy Valley will soon be powered by solar and battery storage, as the first projects of a new Broome-based company that plans to roll out renewable energy microgrids across the Kimberley.
The newly formed company, whose Broome HQ (pictured below) was officially opened last Friday by WA Premier Colin Barnett, is a collaboration between leading solar and battery technologists Energy Made Clean (EMC) and Aboriginal corporation Eastern Guruma.
The JV, called Energy Made Clean Kimberley (EMCK), will focus on delivering innovative energy solutions including renewables and stand-alone power systems, to supply reliable, cost effective and low maintenance electricity and water to people living and working in remote areas.
As its first projects, also announced last week, EMCK won the competitive tender to design and install two multi-million dollar solar and battery microgrids, at two Indigenous communities – Joy Springs and Yakanarra, in the Fitzroy Valley.
Construction of the microgrids is expected to kick off towards the middle of 2017, with commissioning aimed for Q4 this year.
For EMC – which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Carnegie Clean Energy – the Kimberley offshoot offers an opportunity to expand into the northern WA market and tap what is expected to be considerable demand for reliable, off-grid energy solutions.
EMC managing director, John Davidson, said the new Broome headquarters would allow the joint venture to better work with local stakeholders, industry, government and the wider community to deliver clean energy solutions throughout the Kimberley region.
EMCK has also signed an agreement with Eastern Guruma for the supply and install of 10 solar water pumps at Mt Barnett (Cattle) Station, to provide drinking water to the stock, as well as a remote communication network system to monitor the pumps.
The Marra Worra Worra Aboriginal Corporation, which services the two Fitzroy Valley communities, says the need for these sort of renewable energy solutions in these communities is immediate, to ensure sustainability and survival.
“Our investment in solar will help to reduce remote Indigenous communities’ reliance on diesel power stations and provide long term independence,” said Dickie Bedford, Marra Worra Worra’s CEO.