Work is underway to bring renewable energy to isolated and remote Indigenous communities in Queensland’s Far North, creating jobs and reducing costs and emissions.
Queensland Energy Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said that the State Government is delivering on its $3.6 million commitment to continue to roll out renewable energy to Bamaga, Mapoon, Pormpuraaaw and Doomadgee.
Work is underway extending an existing solar farm at Doomadgee, Mapoon is the next cab off the rank, and government officials have started talks with Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire and the Northern Peninsula Area Regional councils.
“These communities rely heavily on expensive, non-renewable diesel fuel to generate power,” Dr Lynham said.
“Switching to renewables, such as solar, directly benefits local communities by creating jobs and power savings, as well as bringing the environmental benefits of reduced emissions.”
At Doomadgee, construction has begun on a 304kW extension of Ergon Energy’s existing solar farm.
The solar farm extension will use an innovative prefabricated solar technology to allow ground-mounted solar panels to be deployed faster and cheaper than traditional solar installations.
Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, said one of the biggest local benefits was that Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council had won the tender for the civil works.
“This means the project is supporting up to 15 construction jobs in the local community over the next two months,” Ms Lui said.
Work will also kick off in September 2019 on installing another 105kW of rooftop solar on four council buildings.
“The rooftop solar will save Doomadgee council an estimated $30,000 to $40,000 per year on their power costs over 20 years, which is money that stays in the community,” Ms Lui said.
The Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council is also installing rooftop solar in 2019, and the project will deliver a technical management solution so that solar and diesel generation can work together.
As part of the project, the Indigenous Consumer Assistance network will be in Mapoon helping families save money on power by using energy more efficiently at home.
Mapoon will also get more rooftop solar and battery energy storage in mid-2020.