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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007


    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007


    Cloncurry: Cloncurry in remote north west Queensland is set to become the first town in the state to use solar power for all of the town’s electricity needs - 24 hours a day.

    Premier Anna Bligh, Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson, and Sustainability Minister Andrew McNamara, said Cloncurry had been chosen for a ground-breaking, solar thermal power station.

    “We’re investing $7 million to build a 10 megawatt solar thermal power station. It’s a real breakthrough for electricity generation,” Ms Bligh said, while attending her government’s first Community Cabinet as Premier.

    “The technology we’re going to use in Cloncurry, will ensure the power station keeps generating electricity even when the sun is not shining.

    “The town of Cloncurry has long claimed the title of having recorded Australia's hottest day – 53 degrees in the shade in 1889 so I reckon we’re on a winner,” Ms Bligh said.

    “8,000 mirrors will reflect sunlight onto graphite blocks. Water will be pumped through the graphite blocks to generate steam that will operate a conventional steam turbine electricity generator.

    “The heat stays in the graphite, allowing the steam to power on through the night and on overcast days.

    “We’re creating continuous 24-hour electricity for Cloncurry,” Ms Bligh said.

    Minister Wilson said the solar thermal power station would deliver about 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to meet the needs of the entire community.

    “This project’s a winner on several fronts. It will cut greenhouse gas emissions with clean energy powered by the sun and it will save money in the long term with less money being spent on upgrades to the local network,” he said.

    The Minister said Ergon Energy would work with consortium partners Lloyd Energy Systems, SMEC Developments and Allco Infrastructure on the $30 million project.

    “The power station is expected to be up and running in time for the long hot summer of 2009/2010,” Mr Wilson said.

    Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, Andrew McNamara, said that as the world came to grips with the challenges of climate change, renewable energy sources like solar will become crucial for survival.

    “One thing Australia has more of than any other country is sunshine, and the tremendous potential for solar energy hasn’t begun to be tapped yet,” Mr McNamara said.

    "While the introduction of alternate energy sources and the reduction of emissions comes at a price, the refusal to do so comes at a potentially much higher cost.

    “The development of alternate and renewable energy sources is a key component of ClimateSmart 2050 is the Queensland Government’s long-term strategy to tackle climate change and secure a clean energy future for Queensland."

    “The Government’s commitment is to promote a range of alternative energy sources, providing Queenslanders with options for how they can best meet the challenge of climate change abatement,” he said.

    Media Inquiries: Premier’s Office: 3224 4500
    Minister Wilson’s Office: Ellen McIntyre 3225 1819
    Minister McNamara’s office Peter McCarthy 3336 8004