Defence doubles down on solar energy ahead of review

The federal government has given defence bases a renewable energy boost, ahead of hotly anticipated changes to defence policy.

The federal government will build 10 new solar energy sites to power defence bases around Australia, complete with battery storage.

‚ÄúWe‚Äôre investing in renewable energy projects because they will reduce energy costs for the defence force,‚ÄĚ Assistant Defence Minister Matt Thistlethwaite told reporters.

‚ÄúIt means that you‚Äôve got more funds to invest in capability improvements in the future.‚ÄĚ

The announcement comes days after a landmark report on Australian defence policy was submitted to the federal government.

Known as the Defence Strategic Review, the report is expected to cover the capabilities of Australia’s northern border, including the NT. The government has said it will release an unclassified version of the report by May.

Mr Thistlethwaite has spent the past few days touring bases in the NT, where the Department of Defence generates nearly 10 per cent of the economy.

He made the announcement on Tuesday at the first of the new solar farms, which will supply energy to an army base just outside Darwin.

Together, the 10 sites will provide 60MW of energy ‚Äď enough to power 15,000 households a year.

Defence department facilities currently rely on local energy sources.

‚ÄúThe beauty of this project is that it takes [these] barracks off the grid, and it takes some of the strain off the broader domestic energy supply,‚ÄĚ said Mr Thistlethwaite.

The first defence solar farm will start operating at the end of this year.

 

Annette Lin
(Australian Associated Press)

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