CAT Projects: Reaching the world from Central Australia


Sir – Alice Springs engineering firm CAT Projects has been acknowledged as the Northern Territory Regional Exporter of the Year, for its success in building an export market for its services and practical solutions in countries as far reaching as Nepal, the Philippines and Kenya.
The prestigious award was presented at the Chief Ministers NT Export and Industry Awards last week in Darwin.
Key to the firm’s success is its work in the design of power systems and electrification programs in developing countries, particularly in the Asia Pacific.
CAT Projects is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Centre for Appropriate Technology Inc. (CAT Inc.), a national Indigenous corporation that has been providing technology and services to remote Indigenous communities across Northern Australia for over 30 years.
Aboriginal companies and organisations too often get a bad wrap. It’s good to know that this one gets it right. It was a big decision for the board to establish a commercial subsidiary, however our efforts have been validated by this award.
CAT Projects has developed specific expertise in rural electrification, particularly in the areas of identifying and resolving barriers to infrastructure development in remote areas.
This culminated in the Asian Development Bank releasing a seminal report authored by CAT Projects, titled “The Future of Mini-grids: from Low Cost to High Value”.
Established in 2008, specifically to develop international markets for the knowledge that CAT Inc has developed over 30 years, CAT Projects is now working on projects in India, Nepal, the Philippines, Cook Islands, New Zealand and Kenya.
This is a great example of sharing our desert knowledge. Too often remote areas are seen as importers of knowledge and capability. CAT Projects has proven that knowledge developed in remote Australia has currency across the world.
CAT Projects has benefited from being co-located at the Desert Knowledge Precinct in Alice Springs with a range of other organisations, including Desert Knowledge Australia.
A lot of people in Alice and Darwin claim they don’t understand Desert Knowledge but this is a great example of exactly how it works.
This is not the first occasion that CAT Projects has been recognised for its work, with the firm having won awards for each of the last five years, including the Sir William Hudson Award – the most prestigious engineering award conferred in Australia.
Remoteness is not a barrier to excellence. We have a great team that is passionate about exporting our knowledge of the unique relationship between people, place and technology to benefit those in less fortunate circumstances around the world.
Peter Renehan
Chairman, CAT Inc
Bruce Walker
Chairman, CAT Projects
Lyndon Frearson
General Manager, CAT Projects
PHOTOS: Village Energy Planning in Maligaon – Orrisa State, India (top) and Paul Rodden, Senior Project Engineer with CAT Projects, with an engineer from Tata BP Solar, Jaya Krushna Samal, also in Maligaon (above).


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