Townsville’s sparked-up the electric car

The Strand could be seeing a new electric car recharge station after the Townsville City Council threw its support behind a trial of the eco-friendly transport technology.

The trial, to be conducted by Ergon Energy, will assess the impact of electric vehicles on the power grid and assess the advantages of using ‘green’ powered transport.

The charging station would be the first to be built on council land. It would be powered by taking electricity from the grid as well as energy produced by solar panels placed on top of a shade structure built on the same site.

Ergon Energy will be responsible for all maintenance and installation fees, but the council will pay for all electricity costs.

Currently there are seven electric vehicle charging stations in the city. Five of these are in private residences and the other two are at Horan and Bird’s North Queensland Renewable Energy Hub and the Townsville Airport.

Environment and Sustainability Committee chairman Cr Vern Veitch said the trial would help promote the city as a national leader in environmentally-friendly technology.

“This is a great opportunity for Townsville to further our commitment to innovation when it comes to alternative energy and reducing our carbon emissions,” he said.

“While electric vehicle technology still has a long way to go to compete with conventional transport, we strongly support this trial as part of our contribution to research and development of future transport options.

“And the electric car trial in itself will promote non-fossil fuel energy use and that’s a strong message for the community.”

Potential sites include the preferred site of the Strand, as well as Aitkenvale Library, Riverway, the Civic Theatre, Townsville RSL Stadium, and the council administration buildings at Walker Street and Thuringowa Drive.

The council’s preferred site for the charging station is on The Strand because of the availability of parking bays. Cr Vern Veitch said he hoped the charging station would be installed in coming months.

“We are at a stage now where the committee has supported the trial and when we settle on the best site we can really move forward at a much quicker pace,” he said.

“If everything goes to plan that should be in a few months.”

Data collected from the trial will look at energy use of electric cars in Townsville, and consider any future locations for charging stations. The proposal will go before a full council meeting on March 27.

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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