Airport power project opens
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.
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.