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Desert Springs Octopus announces new renewable energy agreement with Jawoyn Association and Larrakia Nation

6 Sep 2023

The agreement is set to create a new standard for how renewable energy projects can be developed in partnership with Northern Territory communities.

Desert Springs Octopus has been created to lead the way on renewable energy projects that are developed on Country, by walking with community to co-design Australia’s energy future in the spirit of self-determination and reconciliation. This is done with a shared vision for Country and an acknowledgement of the restorative importance of this initiative for First Nations peoples.

Desert Springs Octopus will work with Jawoyn and Larrakia Nation, to take advantage of the Territory’s excellent renewable energy resource by pursuing a near-term $1billion investment opportunity. This will provide grid connected renewable energy along the Darwin-Katherine Electricity System, with the potential to be backed by Government, Defence and mining offtake. The future will see DSO and First Nations community partners pursue development of green hydrogen projects, which are a key driver of the NT Government’s ambition for a $40 billion economy by 2030.

They aim to achieve this by leveraging the significant land, natural renewable energy resources and access to NT export infrastructure.

Michael Rotumah, CEO of Larrakia Nation, commented: “Larrakia Nation, which represents the Traditional Owners of the greater Darwin region, is ready to jump into this partnership with Desert Springs Octopus. We are grateful that Desert Springs Octopus heard our ambitions and aspirations to unlock our own economic independence and support more Larrakia people to create inter-generational wealth. We are looking forward to being a genuine partner in this exciting project that aligns with our values of protecting and caring for Country.”

John Berto, CEO of Jawoyn Association, commented: “Working with Desert Springs Octopus will make Jawoyn Association a part of renewable energy projects on Jawoyn Country, helping us achieve economic independence. We see renewable energy as part of the future. Jawoyn want to pursue projects in this partnership to include caring for Country, and we welcome the creation of jobs and the chance to develop new skills for our people.”

Jerome Cubillo, CEO of Northern Territory Indigenous Business Network, commented: “NTIBN is excited about the opportunities that Desert Springs Octopus is bringing to not only the Territory, but for Aboriginal businesses and traditional owners to have a genuine stake in these big opportunities on the lands of these two Traditional Owner entities. We see this as a game changer and a lighthouse model for others to follow. This is what real economic self-determination looks like.”

Bevan Mailman, Co-Chair of Desert Springs Octopus, commented: “A new season has commenced, and Desert Springs Octopus welcomes the opportunity to set a new standard in relation to infrastructure development, based on walking closely with First Nations communities and building a future together.”

Sam Reynolds, Managing Director, Octopus Australia, commented: “Desert Springs Octopus sits firmly within the Octopus concept of creating real and lasting Change. We believe that starting with Benefit Sharing Framework Agreements is the key to strong and enduring relationships with Indigenous communities, and we are proud to partner with Jawoyn and Larrakia Nation. Desert Springs Octopus are ready to pursue renewable energy projects alongside these communities and look forward to working with project partners and the NT government, to accelerate the transition to a future powered by renewables.”

About Jawoyn Association

The Jawoyn Association vision is to bring the Jawoyn people together as one nation, care for country and develop economic independence. They strive to improve the cultural, social and economic wellbeing of the Jawoyn people, while always caring for country. They represent and support the Jawoyn people and country through human services, land management, cultural and business enterprises, including the Nitmiluk National Park, for more than 30 years. Jawoyn Country spans 55,000 km2 north-west from the town of Katherine to Pine Creek, crossing the southern part of Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land to Bulman, stretching across to the township of Mataranka in the NT.

About Desert Springs Octopus

Desert Springs Octopus (DSO) is a majority Indigenous owned company, a joint venture between Desert Springs Renewables and Octopus Australia. With a strong focus on northern Australia, DSO aims to work with government, industry, and local Indigenous communities in Australia to develop, construct, invest in, and operate renewable energy generation, including solar, wind, storage and hydrogen projects, with the potential for supply to Asia and other markets.

About Octopus Australia

Octopus Australia is a specialist renewable energy developer and fund manager in Australia. Octopus Australia has team of 40 professionals in Melbourne (HQ) and Sydney have a operating portfolio of $1.5bn and a development portfolio of $8bn across wind, solar and storage (large batteries). Our active approach means we are much more than just a financial investor, with a team that has a unique blend of skills and expertise across all facets of the renewable energy market, including investment, development, energy markets (data & analytics), grid and engineering, asset management, and community engagement.