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Solar, storage to take over from Australian uranium mine

The Ranger Uranium Mine ceased production in Australia’s Kakadu National Park in January, following years of financial losses. Now, as part of a multimillion dollar rejuvenation of the park, there are plans to develop a solar and battery storage hybrid project near the town of Jabiru.

From pv magazine Australia

Distributed energy producer EDL will build, own and operate a hybrid microgrid in the remote mining town of Jabiru, in Australia’s Northern Territory. Working with the Northern Territory government, EDL’s Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Project will help the community transition from its recent history as a uranium mining town to a new future as a tourist destination in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.

Jabiru is held in native title by the Mirarr people. The town, as it is recognized today, has only existed since 1982, when it was established as a living community for the nearby Ranger Uranium Mine.

The project, which integrates 3.9 MW of solar generation and a 3 MW/5 MWh battery with 4.5 MW of diesel generation, is in line with broader efforts to rejuvenate Kakadu. It will also be EDL’s 100th site since it began 30 years ago with the development of the Pine Creek Power Station on the other side of the national park.

Image: EDL

“Once completed, our hybrid renewable power station will provide Jabiru with at least 50% renewable energy over the long term, without compromising power quality or reliability,” said EDL CEO James Harman. 

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The Ranger Uranium Mine is owned by Energy Resources Australia, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto. It was once one of the most productive uranium mines in the world. However, the mine ceased production on Jan. 8, after years of losses primarily attributed to the market slump following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. 

Image: Wiki Commons / Stephen Codrington
 

According to the Katherine Times, Kakadu is set to undergo a $276 million upgrade as part of a plan to rejuvenate tourism to the home of the world’s oldest living culture. Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley told the newspaper that “the park’s traditional owners want to see culturally appropriate tourism grow and we will work with them to achieve that outcome.” 

EDL will begin construction on the project in the months ahead. It expects the hybrid system to be generating energy by early 2022. 

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Source: pv magazine