A remote Indigenous-owned mine training centre in North-East Arnhem Land will feature the first commercial application of an off-grid hybrid energy solution developed by GE.

The solution uses a mix of solar and battery storage coupled with small-scale diesel power generation to produce electricity. It is digitally-connected with GE’s Predix-based Asset Performance Management software application which will allow for remote monitoring and diagnostics to ensure efficiency and reliability.

The hybrid energy solution will provide a 30kW mini-grid using a combination of renewable and diesel power generation technologies to ensure it can deliver a reliable supply of electricity with up to 40% lower operating costs than diesel-only generators. The unit, which is enclosed in a 20-foot shipping container, will provide the training centre with 24/7 power for basic needs including air-conditioning and lighting.

The hybrid unit will be monitored remotely using machine data collected and analysed from GE’s Predix-based software applications. Performance data including solar generation, battery state of charge and when the diesel generation switches on and off will be sent to the cloud and monitored in real time using a web portal and data visualisation.

The software will monitor energy production and automatically switch between technologies to achieve optimum efficiency.

The first installation of the hybrid solution will be a single module, with the option to add further units and greater generation capacity if energy needs increase.

The Gulkula Regional Training Centre will take its first students in August. They will experience on-the-job training at the Gulkula mining operation.

With a core focus on mining, construction and environmental studies, the centre’s ultimate goal is for students to manage and operate a 955-hectare lease extracting bauxite, which sits within Yolngu land.

“You don’t often see a global product launch in a remote community, and this speaks volumes of the innovative culture of the Yolngu people,” said GE Australia, New Zealand & Papua New Guinea president and CEO Geoff Culbert.

“We are proud to be partnering with the Gumatj Corporation on this project, which will deliver a stable and reliable energy supply to support the education and training of the next generation of Yolngu leaders.”