Published Tuesday, 26 September, 2006 at 10:15 AM

Minister for Mines and Energy
The Honourable Geoff Wilson

Minister for Mines and Energy Geoff Wilson today praised Ergon Energy and its Townsville partners for their achievement in securing the Solar City Project.

“Townsville’s SolarCity will be an iconic project demonstrating the way Australian communities can harness solar energy and be more energy-efficient in their daily lives,” Mr Wilson said.

“The project will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make the region an even more attractive place to live and work.

“It’s estimated that over the seven year period of the Solar City Project, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 50,000 tonnes – the same effect as taking 1,700 cars off the road,” he said.

Minister Wilson said Ergon Energy would focus on MagneticIsland which will become the ‘Solar Suburb’ within the SolarCity.

“For the trial, 500 solar photovoltaic systems and 1700 smart meters will be installed and 1700 energy audits conducted on selected homes and State Government buildings on MagneticIsland.

“In addition, a significant number of new homes in Serene Valley and at Riverway on the mainland will form part of the project and a commercial building in the CBD will be refurbished using energy efficiency measures,” he said.

Minister Wilson said the Beattie Government had committed $5 million to help Ergon Energy and its partners develop the Townsville Solar City Project – part of the federal government’s $75 million nationwide Solar Cities program.

“This is a fantastic example of how the commonwealth, states and the community can find common ground and deliver a far-sighted project,” he said.

Trial participants and all Townsville residents will be supported with educational information to help them use energy more efficiently. Ergon Energy will work closely with the project partners to implement the project.

The Minister said Ergon Energy was one of Australia’s largest purchasers of renewable energy, from sugar mills, wind farms and hydro-electric plants across regional Queensland and beyond.

“The Solar City Project is an example of Ergon Energy’s commitment to the environment,” Mr Wilson said.

Media Contacts: David Shankey 32251819