The Alice Springs Future Grid project is a two-year $12.5m project focused on removing barriers to further renewable energy penetration in the Alice Springs power system.
Future Grid is a collaborative effort involving Northern Territory and interstate experts, led by the Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, which is itself a project of Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) funded by the Northern Territory Government.
The project is directed through a Steering Committee, comprising individuals from the Consortium Member organisations, along with representation from the Northern Territory Government and ARENA.
The Alice Springs power system currently averages about 10 per cent solar input. The target set by the Northern Territory Government is 50 per cent by 2030. Following the Roadmap to Renewables report, the Northern Territory Government (NTG) recognised that no single entity could get the NT to its renewable energy target (RET).
In order to bridge the gaps between people and knowledge, the NTG set up Intyalheme with $5 million seed funding, and a mandate to reignite a collaborative network to enhance renewable energy capability.
Every electricity grid faces challenges associated with the transition to renewable energy. On some occasions when conditions are just right, Alice Springs can reach 50 per cent solar input. However this is occasionally. Alice Springs Future Grid is aiming to make it the case as an average, across the year.
Currently, there are numerous barriers to the renewable energy fraction increasing in Alice Springs. The solutions to further renewable energy penetration are technical, regulatory, economic and community-focused. The technical barriers are broadly centred around ancillary services. Check out our FAQs for more detail.
Regulatory barriers have included the Northern Territory’s 1:1 feed-in tariff, which was changed in April 2020. In the past, such measures played an important role in incentivising solar PV, but they are no longer entirely appropriate, because power grids are reaching maximum solar capacity and the price of such technology is growing ever more economically viable. Batteries can help stabilise the grid, so a tariff reform sub-project of Future Grid is investigating alternative tariff arrangements for the provision of system services, to incentivise the installation of batteries.
Knowledge Sharing is a prominent element of the Alice Springs Future Grid project, and Intyalheme is proud to partner with CSIRO to make sure lessons learnt in Alice Springs are recognised by the energy industry at a national level, and made available to the general public.
The website was built with knowledge sharing in mind. We aim to stem the loss of corporate memory, which can result from the high level of transience in the Northern Territory. This knowledge also pays tribute to the great efforts of innovators in and around Alice Springs, which has helped put the town in a great position to lead the way to a renewable energy future.
More than 15 organisations are working together on the Alice Springs Future Grid project. Lessons learned from Future Grid will be transferable to other grids, including the National Electricity Market (NEM) on Australia’s East Coast, which is one of the largest power networks in the world.
CSIRO is leading industry knowledge sharing for Future Grid, ensuring lessons are made accessible to energy industry players all around Australia and beyond.
This website is run by Intyalheme, with support from Future Grid Consortium Members: CSIRO, Ekistica, Power and Water Corporation and Territory Generation.