Minimise blackouts with community energy plan


24100 Harshini Bartlett OKLETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Recent electricity blackouts in Alice Springs reinforce the urgency for us to create our own local community energy plan (LCEP) that incorporates renewable energy.
There is likely to be a lot less disruption across Alice Springs from natural or human induced grid failure if solar energy systems with battery storage are a strong component of our energy production.
Lightning strikes with consequent centralised automatic shutdowns would no longer completely cut all power, at times for many hours. Planning could maximise the benefit of remaining rooftop solar energy, especially if combined with decentralised backup systems for individual buildings or local areas.
Central Australia urgently needs a community energy plan, that includes at least one independent transparent, community controlled, renewable energy provide, and preferably a provider that also rewards homes and businesses that install renewable systems from their own individual, organisational or business pockets. 92% of respondents in Alice Springs would buy electricity from a green (renewable energy) provider, according to the Repower Alice Springs Survey 2017.
All government organisations and taxpayer funded contracts could stipulate installing solar power within five years. Or plan for electric cars that can be recharged in every home and car space around Alice Springs.  There are many other existing and emerging solutions for us to consider.
LCEPs can also support our elected government and agencies to lead us into a secure energy future.  Wider community awareness and involvement can minimise undue influence by powerful vested fossil fuel interests.
Our community needs to drive our energy policy. We need to insist that political, business and other decision makers focus on long-term community goals that are not undermined by short term vested interests. We need to ensure that low income, vulnerable and Aboriginal communities share the benefits from our plans.
Community planning can also deal with the unintended negative consequences of previous decisions, like the current contract that locks the NT into paying for gas for many years, even if we do not use it.
Together we can increase energy security, save ourselves and our government money in the long term, create thousands of local renewable energy jobs, and care for our local and global environment as well.
Chris Hawke
PHOTO: Repower spokeswoman Harshini Bartlett addressing the town council on Monday.


  1. I understand that Solar power has grown from three individual systems in about 2005 to nearly 2,000 home and business systems in 2017.
    As the price of installed solar continues to drop and the role of batteries, be they stand alone or part of an electric vehicles, is fully understood this infrastructure will continue to grow. There are several reputable installers in town so just ensure they are kept busy and 100% renewable by 2030 will be asssured.

  2. As long as EVERYBODY understands that RISK is directly proportional to DEPENDENCY.
    Therefore I would be very careful who is charged with looking after the LCEP. Neither the government of pollies can be trusted, so who will monitor/ manage it?
    PAWA clearly can’t run a power grid efficiently or effectively. If they could, we wouldn’t have had the outages we do.
    We (the consumers) have already paid numerous times for the infrastructure and maintenance of, so I am very reluctant to agree to paying more for LCEP.


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