LETTER: Change necessary to secure bright future for solar project in Alice

Sir,- A Charles Darwin University review into the Alice Solar City project has found that while the project has been highly successful, it must adapt if it is to continue and survive into the future.
The review found that the project had made a substantial contribution to the Alice Springs economy, had a large and positive effect on the electricity system, and contributed to the community spirit and profile of Alice Springs.
But Alice Solar City must develop a future direction that secured its survival, especially as the current Federal funding arrangement was coming to an end, the review said.
The review, by Charles Darwin University Senior Research Fellow Professor Rolf Gerritsen, Dr Benxiang Zeng and Rachel O’Leary, was undertaken as part of a memorandum of understanding between the university and Alice Solar City.
“Alice Solar City has become even more important since the introduction of carbon pricing, but without the base funding that it has received over the past five years, it would need to adapt to survive,” Professor Gerritsen said.
“Their challenge is great but it has been such a success that we are optimistic that the consortium partners will redesign it in a way that will enable it to continue contributing to sustainable resource use in Central Australia.”
The review found that the program had been responsible for increases in energy efficiency, self-sufficiency and diversification among participants in Alice Springs, and for reducing greenhouse gases.
Professor Gerritsen said that not only had the project exceeded nearly all its initial targets, it also had produced a number of other positive benefits.
“We calculated that the economic impact has been equivalent to the injection of about $100 million into the Alice Springs economy,” he said.
“It has also led to some skills enhancement in the local workforce.”
Professor Gerritsen said the purpose of the review was to assist Alice Solar City stakeholders plan for the future and sustain what has been a worthwhile initiative.
Patrick Nelson
Regional Public Relations Officer
CDU

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