Renewable Energy Story Radio Programs


ARDS Educators Binalany, Bulkanhawuy and Dave join with Elizabeth Overend from Power and Water to discuss renewable energy.

Yolŋu Matha with some English

ARDS Educators Binalany, Bulkanhawuy and Dave join with Elizabeth Overend from Power and Water to discuss renewable energy.

Renewable Energy – Story 1: Renewable and Non-renewable Energy.

Renewable energy is made from natural sources that never end, while non-renewable energy is made from sources that will run out. One type of renewable energy is made from the sun hitting special panels. Renewable sources like this could be thought of like a spring-fed creek that flows all year round, while non-renewable sources could be thought of like creeks that only flow for a short time after it rains. On the roof of Milingimbi School there are solar panels that make electricity that is used by the school. Near Bulman on the Arnhem Highway, there are bigger solar panels that help make electricity for the whole community as part of a “Hybrid Energy System”.

Renewable Energy – Story 2: “Hybrid” and Hybrid Energy Systems.

The word “hybrid” is an English word that refers to something that is a mixture of two things. Some camp dogs that are the child of a dingo and a dog could be thought of like a hybrid. When we talk about “Hybrid Energy Systems”, we are talking about two different sources of energy that work together to produce electricity. This is like two brothers who walk together – they have the same aims and so they work together cooperatively. Power and Water want to build more Hybrid Energy Systems in remote communities. They will build solar panels in east Arnhem Land communities with a total capacity of 2 Megawatts to help the diesel generators.

Renewable Energy – Story 3: “Megawatt” and Future Plans for Arnhem Land.

One way that Balanda measure electricity is with “watts”. Everything that uses electricity needs a particular number of watts for it to work. A megawatt is 1 Million Watts. When we use our power card, it counts how many watts are being used and it also counts how long those watts are being used for. So power cards actually measure “watt-hours”. A megawatt is a lot of power, so we need a very big engine to make it. 1 Megawatt is about the amount of electricity that is needed for a community about the size of Miliŋinbi, Ramangiṉiŋ, Gapuwiyak or Yirrkala, while Galiwin’ku is bigger and needs about 3 Megawatts. Power and Water will build enough solar panels in east Arnhem Land communities to be able make 2 Megawatts altogether. These will be able to help the diesel generators when the sun is shining during the day.

Renewable Energy – Story 4: Batteries, Solar Panels and Flint.

Solar panels are getting better and cheaper all the time. But the sun only shines during the day, so we need to store energy in batteries and they are very expensive. Hybrid Energy Systems are the cheapest way to use solar at the moment. Solar panels work like a ganybu (fish net) – they just stand there and catch the energy from the sun. It must be a very special thing that is able to catch the sun and make electricity. Balanda call this stuff “silicon” which gets its name from the Latin word “silex”, which means “flint”, which Yolŋu call “ŋambi”. Yolŋu know that ŋambi is very special. To get the full story about ŋambi, we have to talk to old people from the Wagilag clan. We will hear more about this in the next story.

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