So­lar city

Air­port power project opens

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

The open­ing of a 16,000sqm air­port so­lar farm project is just the tip of the ice­berg as Kar­ratha looks to po­si­tion it­self as a “so­lar city”, ac­cord­ing to the city’s mayor.

The rib­bon was cut on the Kar­ratha Air­port so­lar farm last week, which will pro­vide up to half the air­port’s en­ergy needs.

Im­pact In­vest­ment Group head of re­new­able in­fras­truc­ture Lane Crock­ett said the farm would be owned by IIG for at least the next 30 years.

“This is one of a num­ber of so­lar farms we are putting into a $100 mil­lion so­lar fund,” he said.

“What we do is we pro­vide in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with good com­mer­cial re­turns and pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial ben­e­fits.

“The Kar­ratha so­lar farm is a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple of that.

“One of the things about be­ing here is start­ing to cre­ate re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal busi­nesses and we will be talk­ing to peo­ple to hope­fully do more of this.”

The plant uses cloud pre­dic­tive tech­nol­ogy which will smooth out en­ergy sup­ply when clouds move over the system.

It was this tech­nol­ogy which at­tracted a $2.3 mil­lion Aus­tralian Re­new­able En­ergy Agency grant, about one-quar­ter of the to­tal project cost, to re­search whether CPT could make so­lar power gen­er­a­tion cheaper. City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said there was plenty of po­ten­tial for sim­i­lar projects to help cut the City’s $2.5 mil­lion power bill.

He also pointed to sev­eral long-term dreams which could one day shake up Kar­ratha’s im­age as a dig-it-up, ship-it-off econ­omy.

“I am hop­ing to get a co-op­er­a­tive re­search cen­tre here in Kar­ratha that would be based on so­lar en­ergy with hy­dro­gen as a trans­mis­sion agent,” he said.

“Be­cause we have so much sun here, when the oil and gas even­tu­ally runs out we could still be pro­duc­ing so­lar en­ergy for the rest of Aus­tralia.”

The project was ex­pected to be fin­ished by Au­gust.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Flex se­nior project man­ager Shin­gi­rayi Nhatarikwa, City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long and Im­pact In­vest­ment Group head of re­new­able in­fras­truc­ture Lane Crock­ett open the air­port so­lar farm.

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