Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

May 3rd 2007
Solar contract signed

Jim Chisholm Mike Reynolds and Tony Mooney The signing of a $30 million funding agreement between consortium leader Ergon Energy and the Federal Government was announced today for the Townsville: Queensland Solar City Project - much of which will be focused on Magnetic Island.

The project is part of the Federal Government's $75m Solar City programme that aims to help change the way we think about and use energy.

In the absence of Federal Member for Herbert, Peter Lindsay, State Member for Townsville Mike Reynolds told a press briefing below the Strand's wind generator, "It is going to demonstrate how solar has so much to offer."

Mike Reynolds was on hand with Townsville Mayor Tony Mooney and Ergon's Executive General Manager for Corporate Sustainability and Innovation, Mr Jim Chisholm, who told Magnetic Times, "Magnetic Island is an iconic opportunity. We will be able to measure what we do with the two cables (Magnetic's only connection to the Queensland electricity grid)".

"This is an investigative project to test a range of different measures. The people of Magnetic Island will be helping us find the best solutions." said Mr Chisholm who brought a smart meter of the sort to be used in the project to the briefing.

Ergon's Jim Chisholm with a smart meter

Mr Chisholm also clarified that the photo voltaic panels to be installed on Island roofs would always remain the property of Ergon and that perceptions that the photovoltaic cells were being given to residents to own or could eventually belong to the property owners, after their cost was recouped in electricty produced, was not correct. "This way we can maintain them which could be expensive to home owners. It helps with the trial as we can quickly fix them," he said, adding, "In time data coming through will tell us what (energy efficiency/generation) measures are the most successful but we won't know until you get in and know the results."

The signing will now be followed with several other consortium members' contractual arrangements being signed off over the next few months.

The project will run from 2007 to around 2013 and involve 1700 free energy audits, 2500 smart meters and 500 solar PV systems installed in selected homes and public buildings in the solar suburb of Magnetic Island.

Mike Reynolds said, "We have some great tools to be energy wise

Solar contract signed
hoyt drake
May 10th 2007
--Sounds like a great idea ! --By when do I need to return from my holiday, to sign up for it ?
(Or can my house-mate do so ? :))
Cordially, Hoyt Drake, Nelly Bay
May 10th 2007
Now that Ergon and the federal, state and local governments have signed off on the Solar Cities plan for Magnetic Island I look forward to Ergon entering into a relationship with the Island community.
This is going to be a more intimate relationship than any we have ever had before and since it has all the elements of a 'motherhood' issue about it I hope that Ergon is prepared to put its cards on the bedside table before we climb between the sheets (so to speak).
If the powers-that-be are looking for a model for consultation I wouldn't hesitate before recommending the Community Reference Group (CRG) model used by the Water Matters Alliance over the past year or so in dealing with the multi-million dollar wastewater upgrade which is now close to completion. The combination of independence and internal equity (a difficult tightrope walk but with huge positive potential) nearly eliminates inequalities of power and authority and enhances the capacity of participants to contribute without fear or favour.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
Syl Hayes In reply to Fair raises $15,000 for school
What a wonderful outcome for the school! I had a great time face-painting with Luke and Sasha, met lots of kids and parents,scored some great books at the Trash n Treasure stall, and even remembered to vote. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves...such a tribute to the organisers. Well done!
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