Published Thursday, 03 May, 2007 at 03:56 PM

Minister for Mines and Energy
The Honourable Geoff Wilson

The $30 million Townsville: Queensland Solar City Project has reached a significant milestone, with the official signing of a funding agreement between consortium leader Ergon Energy and the Federal Government.

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.

Minister for Mines and Energy Geoff Wilson said the signing was a significant achievement.

“We’re now a step closer to project rollout and learning more about solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, smart meters, energy efficiency, demand management, cost-reflective pricing and community engagement,” Mr Wilson said.

“Over the next few months, Ergon Energy will work through contractual arrangements with their consortium members and finalise planning, recruitment, design and other logistics associated with project rollout,” he said.

Member for Townsville Mike Reynolds said the signing was a significant step towards Townsville becoming a truly solar city.

Mr Reynolds said the Townsville Solar City project would run from 2007 to around 2013.

“The project will 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,” Mr Reynolds said.

“We have some great tools to be energy wise—smart energy-saving, metering and solar technologies— and we need to put these technologies to greater use. Solar Cities will show us how.

“And with all levels of government, industry and the community working together, this is truly an iconic project that makes the best use of everyone’s efforts, ideas and expertise in finding innovative energy solutions that will benefit us all,” he said.

“Over the period of the entire Solar City Project, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 50,000 tonnes—the same benefit as taking 1,700 cars off the road for the seven years.

The State Government has committed $5 million through the Department of Energy and the state government-owned corporation, Ergon Energy, has committed around $10 million to the project. Consortium partners, including the Townsville City Council have also contributed to this important solar city project.

Media enquiries: Ellen McIntyre 3225 1819