Renewable energy sources
We're working with communities throughout regional Queensland to develop renewable sources of energy. Our goal is to reduce our impact on the environment by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, decrease our use of imported diesel and reduce harmful pollutants from diesel combustion.
Solar power station at Doomadgee
Doomadgee is an isolated community about 500km from Mt Isa. It’s not connected to the national electricity grid and is reliant mainly on diesel generation for its electricity needs.
The 264kW solar photovoltaic (PV) power station works together with the diesel power system to deliver savings of around 115,000 litres of diesel each year.
The solar farm provides about 8% of the total energy needs in Doomadgee and can assist with electricity supply during extended wet seasons, which can isolate the community for up to six months.
Doomadgee's solar power station received the 2014 Clean Energy Council (CEC) Innovation Award. The project showed innovation through the development of advanced control systems. These systems seamlessly manage both the diesel engines and the solar farm to deliver a cost effective solar solution.
Read more in our article Ancient energy adds lustre to 21st century solution
Solar concentrated power station at Windorah
Our solar concentrated power station in western Queensland is an innovative project to reduce the town’s reliance on diesel power generation.
It comprises of five solar concentrator dishes, each 14 metres in diameter and 14 metres high. The mirrors in each dish concentrate the sunlight onto a solar panel, which is made up of high-efficiency PV cells. These cells convert the sunlight into energy which is then fed into Windorah’s electricity grid.
Like giant sunflowers, the dishes face and follow the sun to absorb as much sunlight as possible each day.
Download the Windorah Solar Farm brochure (PDF 882.3 kb) for more information.
Geothermal power station at Birdsville
We have one of the few low-temperature geothermal power stations in the world located in Birdsville, about 1,600km west of Brisbane, on the edge of the Simpson Desert.
The power station is not connected to the national electricity grid and instead supplies into Birdsville's isolated mini grid.
The energy comes from the near-boiling water taken from the Great Artesian Basin at a depth of 1,280 metres. This hot bore water provides a 'free' energy resource which would otherwise be wasted when the water is cooled before use.
Geothermal power provides approximately 30% of the annual electricity needs of Birdsville. Operating the geothermal power station:
- Reduces diesel use by about 130,000 litres per year
- Saves about 375 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year1.
A major advantage of geothermal energy over other renewable sources is that power is produced consistently over an extended period. So for each kilowatt of generating capacity, the maximum amount of energy is produced and fuel is saved.
In 2000/2001 the plant was modified with funding from the Queensland Government's Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund. Other modifications were made in 2004-2005 to meet Australian safety and other standards.
Download the Birdsville Geothermal Power Station brochure (PDF 774.8 kb) for more information.
Wind farm on Thursday Island
Thursday Island in the Torres Strait is not connected to the national electricity grid. Its 4,000 residents rely on electricity from diesel generators.
We’ve built a $2.5 million wind generation plant which provides around 5% to 10%1 of the island's electricity needs. This saves about 300,000 to 600,000 litres of diesel and 870 to 1,7001 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.
The plant consists of two 30 metre steel towers, each topped with a three-bladed turbine with a rotor diameter of 29 metres. Each turbine generates up to 225 kilowatts of electricity. Their combined annual output is up to 1.22 gigawatt hours, depending on the weather.
The turbines' output is passed through a transformer and fed into the existing power station system. The turbines operate in addition to the diesel generation plant but are relatively quiet. At just 150 metres away, they’re not much noisier than the average fridge.
1Source: National Greenhouse Accounts (NGA) Factors - January 2008 page 11