Major step forward for Daintree power


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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It what has being described as one of the most constructive meetings, Daintree residents left with the knowledge that significant progress is being made regarding the Daintree Renewable Energy power project.

This follows a recent Daintree Renewable Energy community meeting at the Diwan sports centre, where residents were provided with an update on the progress being made.

Richard Schoenemann, the Director of Volt Advisory, said there is a short list of nearly 30 large businesses that are interested in investing in the project which is very encouraging. The next stage will include financing and contractual agreements.

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The Volt Advisory Group has been contracted by DRE to produce a fully designed, fully engineered and fully costed shovel ready report which will be submitted to the Federal Government within the next month.

At the meeting, Schoenemann outlined the process that his company had been going through including talks with over 100 supply companies for components, directional boring and cable plough companies, among others.

“We carried out mapping of the entire region for the laying of the cabling and associated infrastructure including communications cabling special non-oil filled transformers and pillar boxes,” he said.

Schoenemann also advised that there are several sites suitable for the large scale solar farm which also incorporate roof top solar where the power infrastructure will be housed in shipping containers of 10 to 15 in total.

“We will be using a combination of cutting edge technology including Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology; large scale battery storage using the latest in battery storage technology; special reciprocal generation plants designed to run on hydrogen. The entire system will be backed up with LPG-fueled generators in case of a major failure,” he said.

He said the project could start early next year and could take approximately 12-15 months if everything goes to plan. 

Over an extensive period of time, Russell O’Doherty has been faced with numerous challenges, one being his unsuccessful bid in getting the endorsement from the previous Council.

In September last year, DRE made a fresh call to Douglas Shire Council to publicly support the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Micro-grid proposal.

In his plea, DRE president, O’Doherty, said it is time for some real action by Council on the Daintree energy project.

“I am heartened by what is now occurring and I would like to thank Mayor Michael Kerr for his significant assistance and the cooperation from the Council and departmental managers.

“This is a real breath of fresh air which is the total opposite to the previous council,” he said.

Also present at the meeting were the Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, Mayor Kerr, and Councillors Lisa Scomazzon, Peter McKeown and Roy Zammataro.

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