So­lar farm en­er­gises air­port op­er­a­tions

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Con­struc­tion is un­der way on a 16,000sqm so­lar farm which will pro­vide up to one-third of Kar­ratha Air­port’s en­ergy needs.

The so­lar farm will gen­er­ate about 1824MW of en­ergy a year and use cloud pre­dic­tive tech­nol­ogy, which will smooth out en­ergy sup­ply if big clouds move over the sys­tem.

The Aus­tralian Re­new­able En­ergy Agency put $2.3 mil­lion to­wards the pro­ject in the hope of find­ing out whether CPT made so­lar gen­er­a­tion cheaper.

SunEdi­son se­nior pro­ject man­ager Shingi Nhatarikwa said con­struc­tion was ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of July.

“The farm is ex­pected to be op­er­a­tional mid-Au­gust 2016, fol­low­ing com­mis­sion­ing,” he said.

“We ex­pect that the en­tire out­put of the farm will sup­ply power to the air­port build­ings and precinct.

“All or­dered long lead ma­te­ri­als are track­ing well and should start ar­riv­ing in Kar­ratha by end of (last) week.”

Mr Nhatarikwa said de­lays in fi­nal­is­ing fi­nance and con­struc­tion con­tracts, as well as pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion works had put the pro­ject back past its mooted op­er­a­tional date, but it was now pro­gress­ing in line with ex­pec­ta­tions.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said the so­lar pro­ject was a step for­ward in demon­strat­ing how suc­cess­ful har­ness­ing the sun could be in the Pil­bara.

“We have so much sun­shine here in the Pil­bara so it makes sense that we start look­ing at so­lar power for our en­ergy needs as it be­comes more fi­nan­cially vi­able,” he said.

“Mak­ing re­new­able en­ergy like so­lar a larger part of our en­ergy mix is going to give us a bright fu­ture not only by help­ing to re­duce the City’s car­bon foot­print and po­ten­tially sav­ing us money into the fu­ture, but also pro­vid­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nesses to help grow our lo­cal econ­omy.”

The so­lar pro­ject was well re­ceived at an air­port con­fer­ence hosted at the Kar­ratha Air­port last week.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

SunEdi­son head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment Tom Ked­die, head of com­mer­cial sales Nick Brass, City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long and CPS Na­tional elec­tri­cal su­per­vi­sor Bruce Chap­man.

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