Pow­er­ing up the Daintree

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

ER­GON En­ergy has been ap­pointed to con­duct de­tailed works on sup­ply­ing elec­tric­ity to res­i­dents north of the Daintree River, de­spite the area re­main­ing ex­cluded from Er­gon’s net­work de­liv­ery area.

The process of build­ing in­fra­struc­ture for elec­tric­ity north of the Daintree River is pro­gress­ing, with Er­gon En­ergy en­listed to out­line the elec­tric­ity sup­ply op­tions and es­ti­mate costs in the re­gion.

Min­is­ter for En­ergy Mark McAr­dle has made the re­quest and Er­gon’s act­ing man­ager re­gional ser­vices Gra­ham Lynes said the scop­ing work is es­ti­mated to be com­pleted by the end of the year.

‘‘This scop­ing work will be gifted to the com­mu­nity to use in a pri­vate sec­tor ten­der for the con­struc­tion of a new en­ergy sup­ply, sav­ing many thou­sands of dol­lars in de­vel­op­ment costs,’’ Mr Lynes said.

‘‘This will in­clude a pre­lim­i­nary de­ter­mi­na­tion on which elec­tric­ity sup­ply op­tion could be the most eco­nom­i­cally, tech­ni­cally, and en­vi­ron­men­tally vi­able op­tion. How­ever, the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has spec­i­fied that the Daintree area will re­main ex­cluded from Er­gon En­ergy’s net­work de­liv­ery area.’’

State MP David Kempton said he is pleased the process is mov­ing for­ward for the res­i­dents north of the river, who have been fight­ing to gain elec­tric­ity for over a decade. ‘‘Once we have a firm idea of the cost we will be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to pur­sue War­ren Entsch’s of­fer of fed­eral fund­ing to com­pen­sate the ad­di­tional cost of sup­ply by virtue of world her­itage list­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘Once there is a con­crete cost­ing, we will be in a po­si­tion to ex­plore the best op­tions for an ef­fec­tive and re­li­able en­ergy sup­ply. There is no quick fix and the is­sues are cer­tainly com­plex.

‘‘Our big­gest sin­gle con­sid­er­a­tion is the cost of de­liv­er­ing power to res­i­dents and busi­nesses north fo the river. We need to take into ac­count the cost of up­grad­ing the ex­ist­ing grid to the ex­tra load, the added cost of un­der­ground retic­u­la­tion in a world her­itage listed area, de­liv­ery to all users in scat­tered lo­ca­tions and for con­sumers, the cost of bring­ing their ex­isit­ing wiring up to stan­dard.’’

Mr Kempton said the state gov­ern­ment is in no po­si­tion to make a com­mit­ment for sup­ply at this stage.

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