Jabiru celebrates first 500 days of solar power with new conservation partnership

Conservation efforts in the environmentally sensitive Jabiru region will be boosted following an announcement today that sustainable energy producer EDL, the Northern Territory Government and Parks Australia have partnered with the Djurrubu Rangers on the ‘Karnabarradj’ Project.

The project involves critical work to protect 1000 hectares of endangered black-footed tree-rat habitat through the implementation of a conservation zone management plan and monitoring program, which includes feral animal and weed control, fine-scale fire management and fauna surveying.

Importantly, it provides further opportunity to consolidate key threatened species management skills for the Djurrubu Rangers through experience and the collaboration with Parks Australia staff.

Senior representatives from EDL, NT Government, Djurrubu Rangers, Parks Australia and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation came together at the Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Power Station today, to commemorate the first 500 days of operations and celebrate this next stage of the partnership.

EDL CEO James Harman said the extension of the partnership reflected the unique relationship formed during construction.

“EDL is proud to continue our work with the Djurrubu Rangers and support on-going efforts to protect the environmentally sensitive Jabiru area and specifically, the black-footed tree-rat.

“It also provides an opportunity for further knowledge sharing, with our teams able to undertake additional cultural learning, while the Rangers are able to build their commercial and safety skills by working with our local operations team.”

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Security Lauren Moss said the Territory Labor Government was proud to support the Karnabarradj Project with a $100,000 grant.

“The collaborative efforts of the local Djurrubu Rangers, Parks Australia and EDL in establishing a conservation zone and monitoring program for the endangered black-footed tree rat not only protects this important species, but more widely protects the cultural and natural resources in the region.”

The partnership has been commemorated with a special painting of the black-footed tree rat from local Indigenous artist Clarrie Nadjamerrek, to illustrate its significance and remind people of the importance of taking care of country.

“It’s good that Djurrubu Rangers are looking after this piece of country to take care of the Black Footed Tree Rat and all the plants and animals through here.”

EDL engaged the Djurrubu Rangers—a group of young Bininj (Aboriginal people) providing professional land management services across the Kakadu region—for their first commercial contract with industry in the construction phase of the Jabiru power station, where they managed site clearing and wildlife relocation. Throughout the clearing, the rangers coordinated safe capture of wildlife and releasing back to suitable areas away from the site.

The Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Power Station integrates 3.9MW solar generation and a 3MW/5MWh battery, with 4.5MW diesel generation, balancing sustainability with reliability and replacing the previous diesel-fueled electricity supply.

Since opening in February 2022, the Jabiru hybrid power station has supported the community in its transition from mining to a tourism and services hub, supplying the township residents with equitable access to reliable, renewable energy.

EDL’s Control Systems Engineer Mikayla Ralph, Chief Operating Officer Shane McLaughlin, Chief Executive Officer James Harman, Senior Project Manager Aidan Davies, Senior Control Systems Engineer Alister Price and Senior Mechanical Engineer Isaac Fischmann at the Jabiru Hybrid Renewable Power Station

Djurrubu Rangers’ Senior Ranger Clarrie Nadjamerrek with his Karnabarradj artwork and EDL’s CEO James Harman.

EDL Senior Project Manager Aidan Davies, Member for Arafura Manuel Brown, Djurrubu Ranger Ralph Nadjamerrek and EDL CEO James Harman.

Local artist Clarrie Nadjamerrek commemorated this partnership with an artwork depicting the black-footed tree-rat