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Energy, Environment

CDU EXPERT: Northern Territory could be the answer to successful transition to solar and wind

Charles Darwin University 2 mins read

13 JUNE, 2024

Who: Charles Darwin University, Research Institute of Environment and Livelihoods PhD candidate Billee McGinley. Ms McGinley is currently researching the Northern Territory’s potential as a major solar and wind power provider, specifically identifying land in the NT suitable for onshore utility-scale solar and wind energy that would have the least conflicts with conservation of biodiversity.

Topics:

  • ABC 4 Corners ‘Wind Wars’ report aired on Monday 10/06/2023 addressing community concerns and conflicts with conservation for proposed wind farms.
  • Preparing for the energy transition in the Northern Territory.

Contact details: Call +61 8 8946 6721 or email media@cdu.edu.au to arrange an interview.

Quotes attributable to Billee McGinley:

“We must be ambitious and transition rapidly to renewable energy to address the existential threat of climate change. Wind and solar energy, cheaper than energy produced from fossil fuels, is likely to dominate the global energy mix in coming decades. In comparison fossil fuels causes much more damage than wind and solar not only to our climate but also to biodiversity and human health. Nevertheless, the inevitable global transition to renewable energy will require massive areas of land and conflicts are already arising with other forms of land use, including for conservation.

“Watching the ABC 4 Corners Wind Wars report aired on Monday 10/06/2023 highlighted how important it is for strategic regional planning for large scale solar and wind energy opportunities in the Northern Territory. Much of the NT is highly suitable for solar energy production and there are also large areas with wind power potential. The NT can generate much more renewable energy than it needs domestically with potential to transmit renewable energy in the NT to nearby countries and regions of Australia that cannot meet their renewable energy needs locally, like the Suncable solar farm major project near Elliot that will transmit energy to Singapore via undersea cables There is also opportunity  to harness wind and solar energy to produce green hydrogen, a low carbon fuel, which can be liquified and exported   further contributing to global greenhouse gas emission reductions to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change.

“The Office of Australia Energy Infrastructure Commissioner reported that community opposition to wind farms predominantly occurs in the planning phase. Regional planning is underway to identify areas with wind power generation potential. This has drawn attention to a sweet spot in the arid regions of the NT between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs where the potential for wind and solar power and green hydrogen production appear to coincide. Conflicts with conservation and other land uses in these regions has so far not been considered in this resource planning, which could result in conflicts such as those occurring in NSW presented in the 4 Corners report, resulting in debilitating delays and poor community acceptance of wind farms projects.

“Continuing with expansion of fossil fuels or moving to more expensive and riskier nuclear energy is not an option. Comprehensive, collaborative strategic planning for large-scale wind and solar in the NT that will have the least conflicts is key to a successfully harnessing large scale solar and wind energy opportunities in the NT. This is what my research aims to achieve.”


Contact details:

Raphaella Saroukos she/her
Research Communications Officer
Marketing, Media & Communications
Larrakia Country
T: +61 8 8946 6721
E: media@cdu.edu.au
W: cdu.edu.au

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