Ergon Energy has lodged its formal business case in an effort to secure Townsville as the site for a major sustainable energy trial under the Federal Government’s $75 million Solar Cities program.
An announcement from the Australian Greenhouse Office is expected in late 2006.
The business case submission included photographs and video footage from the Solar Cities Community Day held on The Strand in March which demonstrated community support for the project.
The Townsville Solar City Project, headed by Ergon Energy with support from the Queensland Government and Townsville City Council, was one of 11 projects asked to develop a business case to host a Solar Cities trial and receive up to $15 million in project funding.
Acting Manager Regional Services Kev Petersen said, “Ergon Energy is hoping to create an iconic project for Queensland through the Solar Cities initiative, showcasing benefits to the environment, customers and local communities. The project will also support innovative electricity supply technologies in a practical and large scale application.
If the business case is accepted, the Townsville Solar City project will showcase the future of sustainable urban living in Australia, through greater use of renewable energy sources, deeper community engagement and involvement, efficient use of electricity and sensitivity to escalating energy consumption.”
The aim of the Federal Government programme is to provide a model of how solar energy and energy efficiency can deliver economic and environmental benefits in a specific trial area.
The consortium project will see energy efficient products and photovoltaic solar panels incorporated into selected existing homes, a portion of new homes in two residential estates including Magnetic Island and a Townsville central business district commercial building.
Mr Petersen said, “When the Solar Cities project is fully implemented, we estimate it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 6,000 tonnes per year – about the same as taking 1,300 cars off the road.”
Trial participants would also be supported with educational information and assistance on how to use energy more efficiently.
Ergon and the Townsville Solar consortium have investigated the most appropriate locations in the city for the trial, which can best meet Australian Greenhouse Office stringent guidelines and assessment criteria.
Ergon is one of Australia’s largest purchasers of renewable energy, from sugar mills, wind farms and hydro-electric plants across regional Queensland and beyond.
by magnetic times