Zammataro challenged as micro-grid project supported

COUNCIL MEETING

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Council voted today to expresses its support for the Federal Government’s Daintree Micro-grid project.
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Russell O'Doherty, president of Daintree Renewable Energy Inc., has refuted claims by Douglas Shire Councillor Roy Zammataro he was not invited to any meetings to discuss power in the Daintree.

Cr Zammataro was the lone voice to vote against Council supporting the Federal Government’s Daintree Micro-grid project, and acknowledge the need for reliable and clean energy for residents and businesses in the World Heritage-listed rainforest.

The 4-1 decision was taken at today’s Council meeting which was streamed live via Facebook.

In arguing his case, Cr Zammataro said this is an initiative that has been spurred on by a handful of individuals who have discussed the matter virtually behind closed doors.

“I’ve been a councillor in this shire for four years and I have never been invited to a meeting to discuss the power; I’ve never been asked to attend and have my say on it.

“Many residents north of the river confided in me and have told me they have never been asked their opinion on the micro-grid or any form of mains power in the Daintree.

“They also told me a lot of them are happy with the system in place and rarely have to rely on generators,” he said.

But O’Doherty said he has emails dated March 6 2017 and November 6 2019 inviting Cr Zammataro to meetings.

“I would be more than happy to produce the emails to prove that he was invited. But he did not respond to either of them,” said O’Doherty.

O’Doherty said he was heartened by the fact that the project now had Council’s support.

“We now have more open and forward-thinking leadership and this augurs well for not only the Daintree, but the shire as a whole,” he said.

The micro-grid will use solar power and hydrogen technology to provide clean and reliable energy north of the Daintree River.  

There is currently no mains power grid north of the Daintree River to Cape Tribulation, with the exception of a few locations directly across from Daintree Village. Businesses and residents are responsible for their own energy needs and many use outdated, unreliable and polluting diesel generators.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the Council support sends an important signal to ratepayers and the energy market.

“The Federal Government solution will provide an essential service which businesses and residents have a right to,” he said.

“The proposed micro-grid will be positive for the environment as energy users move away from older polluting technologies.

“Businesses will also become more competitive through the access to reliable energy at an affordable price.”

The Federal Government is currently developing a plan for the installation of advanced micro-grid technology that will use a combination of solar power and hydrogen technology to provide clean and reliable energy.

Connections to the system will be voluntary. Council officers will support the study by providing information and allowing access to Council property and infrastructure.


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