Townsville Water Taskforce Recommends Solar Power For Pumping

solar powered water pumping

Securing Townsville Water Supplies With Solar | Image: Townsville Water Taskforce

Solar energy may soon play an important role in securing water supplies for the Queensland city of Townsville as part of a proposed new pipeline project.

In March this year, the Federal and Queensland Governments along with Townsville City Council appointed a Water Taskforce to study potential water security solutions for the rapidly growing city.

On Friday, the Taskforce released its interim report recommending a $200M increased capacity duplicate pipeline from Haughton Pump Station to Ross River Dam. The existing pipeline can pump 130 million litres of water a day, but within the next decade demand for the precious liquid will outstrip the current pipeline’s capacity.

Running a distance of around 36 kilometres, a large amount of energy will be required to pump water through the new pipeline  – and that’s where solar should come into play said Taskforce Chair, Brad Webb.

“We are recommending installation of solar energy as well as access to the high voltage network for cheaper base load rates and to connect to the National Energy Market to sell any excess solar energy produced.”

The interim report envisions a 5MW battery-ready solar power station constructed close to Haughton Pump Station, with the potential for further solar capacity and batteries to be added in the future; the latter when batteries become a cost-effective option.

In the medium term (3-15 years), an additional battery-ready 6.8MW solar energy facility has been recommended for a new proposed pumping station at Clare, to be expanded as required.

solar pumping plan

Proposed Pump/Pipeline/Solar Station Works

Mr. Webb says the new pipelines and solar farms should be owned by the Queensland Government and/or Townsville City Council.

The full interim report can be downloaded here (PDF) and the summary, here. The Taskforce will provide a final report to the Prime Minister and Queensland’s Premier by the end of September next year.

Other Renewables News

In other recent renewable energy related news out of Townsville, Council last week approved a report recommending it offers a parcel of land at Woodstock for a proposed huge battery plant capable of producing a million batteries a year.

Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said the facility has the potential to create enormous economic benefits for Townsville.

“In addition to thousands of direct and indirect jobs, taking equity in the project in exchange for the value of the land will generate an on-going revenue stream for ratepayers.”

Small scale solar power in Townsville is also continuing to pick up steam. Recent data from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator indicates that as at June 1, around 19,000 solar panel systems of 100kW capacity or less were installed in the Townsville area; collectively amounting to 76 megawatts capacity.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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