Money should go to solar farm, not report

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Letter to the Editor

I’ve just read the article on no-cost electricity for Alice Springs, and the comments about concerns that our grid is likely to be overloaded at times.

All good, and I’m sure safety measures can be put in place.

I was never a fan of the Future Grid project and spending all that money on what I considered was science already well known and understood.

I was a member of RePower Alice Springs for several years. We were initially trying to stop the purchase and installation of the 10 new engines purchased by Adam Giles, and were pushing for renewable energy generation instead.

Since then households have done the heavy lifting, but nothing in Alice Springs by the authorities.

My approach was always to try and get a big (very big) solar farm put out at Brewer Road at the input end of the grid so everyone in town could purchase green electrons if they didn’t have their own rooftop system. Shut down a few of the motors and pump in solar electrons.

Households may still need to be disconnected from the grid from time to time just as is the case now, but at least Alice Springs could go 100% (or close to it) very quickly, not 50% by 2030.

We should be a leading solar town. We are in the middle of the driest continent on earth with a massive solar load largely being wasted.

Nothing at all has even been proposed by authorities since those RePower days as far as I know for Alice Springs.

Repower also contacted Alice Plaza and Yeperenye to consider large rooftop installations, but again nothing as far as I know. Bunnings does have solar at their site.

How about an investigation into the lack of progress by Territory Generation towards installing more solar generation for the town instead of leaving it to households to do the job for them?

Neil Woolcock, Alice Springs

IMAGE: Alice Springs Future Grid was a Highly Commended Finalist in the Chief Minister’s Excellence in Cross-Government Collaboration and Partnerships Awards last month. Facebook.

3 COMMENTS

  1. It’s not no cost, the households in Alice have paid for the solar on their roofs and lost money on solar as it was decided that batteries were the way to go. We don’t believe anything the government says now.

  2. When Repower first launched around 2012 Alice Springs had about 7 MW of solar and no batteries.
    This has now grown to over 20 MW (see PV by Post Code) plus at least one grid scale and multiple home battery systems.
    Electric cars with much more storage than a home battery have also become accepted as viable transport in Central Australia.
    ARENA judged that Alice Springs as an isolated grid was worthy of study as the knowledge could be beneficial in many similar situations. Maybe not just in Australia but internationally.
    It is time to engage with Repower and or Territory Generation and see how you can directly contribute to the Alice Springs transition, Neil.

  3. We simply fail to look at what has happened elsewhere.
    Yackandandra in Victoria, the Lend Lease project north of Perth and in northern NSW where producers sell power to each other via communal batteries.
    In the Towards 2030 ALP document years ago it was suggested solar farms along the rail line using the rail as a carrier to the southern energy market.
    Ridiculous, it was claimed. But now it’s being done but the output is going to go to Singapore while we go short.
    Now that’s forward planning in its supreme form. We are past masters at it and will continue that way.
    Both India and China are now working at molten salt thorium reactors at which point we should have been years ago as we have plentiful supplies of both.
    The recent publicity on molten salt and solar as an energy storage and in the Middle East illustrates the point.

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