Gas-first government dodging urgent need to act on climate


24100 Harshini Bartlett OKLETTER TO THE EDITOR

Sir – The NT Government’s 10 Year Infrastructure Plan’s annual review released last week further delays NT action on climate change, essential now in the near total absence of Federal energy policy.
The delay means the NT is missing the boat in booming large scale renewable energy project construction occurring interstate and the jobs that come with it.
RePower has done much of the development work for a medium to large scale Alice Springs solar farm; and a survey of potential investors in the farm that indicates significant investment interest from within the Alice community. But the project has stalled for lack of government backing.
If there is anywhere in the world that’s ripe for big solar, it’s Alice Springs with its super high solar radiation. But instead the NT Government is clearly focussed on gas development, a big contributor to the climate change we all must urgently address.
A week ago, in NT Resources Week, Chief Minister Gunner outlined the NT Gas Strategy, aiming to “grow the gas supply and service industry” and “establish a gas manufacturing industry”.
This was followed on Friday by a pledge of $450,000 in NT Government seed funding to CSIRO to help deliver “transparent advice on gas development in the Territory”.
The 10 Year Infrastructure Plan review lists as a priority project the rollout of solar across about 30 remote communities.
But it lists other “infrastructure to support renewable energy” and “a large scale solar facility in Alice Springs” as ideas only, under which it blandly repeats: “The Department of the Chief Minister is leading the development of an implementation plan to achieve the Renewable Energy 50% by 2030 Target.”
With so little renewables infrastructure in the plan, it’ll be almost 2030 with little more renewable power to show for it.
The Federal Government has now effectively ditched energy policy altogether, so it’s time for the NT Government to step up.
But it seems to be stepping away.
Meanwhile, the climate is telling us all to act now or suffer later, and telling governments to take the lead.
RePower calls on the NT Government to dust off its Roadmap to Renewables report of last year, recognise there’s more to the Territory than its gas and lead strongly to address climate change with investment in renewables infrastructure.
Harshini Bartlett
RePower Alice Springs


  1. In other parts of the country government involvement seems to have slowed down the inevitable move to renewable energy.
    The huge development at Tailem Bend in SA, for example, has Singaporean money behind it and there are similar stories elsewhere.
    A major real estate development North of Perth (Alkinos) was put in place and is largely independent of Government involvement in electricity, by a private developer.
    That could have happened at Kilgarrif with just a little government foresight.
    A public company is initialling significant solar resources on southern shopping centres and schools, and our own green shed has enough capacity on its trade outlet alone to power 35 houses, and no-one notices the row of inverters along the front supplying over 80% of it power needs.
    The Alice could own and be very proud of owning its own power if we all got behind Re-power, as several other municipalities interstate have done.
    Often governments slow progress down.
    Who seems to care about the flood of electric vehicles heading this way and how we are going to benefit from them or even cope with them?

  2. As the leader of a government that was elected with a promise to introduce a moratorium on fracking, Gunner doesn’t look very insightful.


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