Bundaberg – A name synonymous with rum and coke, but would you believe also the name of Australia’s most successful example of a city relying on solar energy to power over 9,400 homes.
Bundaberg, nestled beside the Burnett River in Queensland’s South-East, is a city that has been thriving for the last century. Famous for its plentiful sugar-mills and of course it’s trademark bundy rum (which is actually made from molasses – a by-product of all that sugar!), it had never been thought of as an innovator in green-energy.
Australia’s Solar Powered City
But this has all changed. Thanks to Queenland’s beautiful subtropical climate and sunny skies, it’s the perfect candidate for expansive solar power schemes, and as such the cities of Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Caloundra are among Australia’s most developed “green” cities.
Bundaberg Solar’s managing director Ashley Clark weighed in on why he thinks Bundaberg picked up the idea of solar energy and ran with it, saying “I would put it down to the fact that this is an area with a lot more retirees who are a bit more cautious about where their money goes.”
Australian Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters said the state’s residents were collectively saving $214 million on electricity bills a year by embracing solar.
Queensland was rocked by the federal governments cut to spending on the Renewable Energy Target over the past 12 months, which saw a 90% decline in renewable technology investment. Concern raised by local government and the community are large sparked a conversation which has resulted in the bi-partisan agreement between Liberal and Labor and legislation being debated in Parliament. This leaves us with a much brighter outlook for renewable energy investment in 2015.
“The good news is that a deal on the RET has been agreed between the major parties and was supported by some of the country’s most influential business peak bodies and energy user groups. Once this deal is legislated, it will help return investment to the sector and build a lot more major renewable energy projects”said CLEAN Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton.
Mr Thornton said Bundaberg was Australia’s solar powered city at the end of 2014. Queensland continues to lead the country with 433,770 of the 1,393,526 solar installations nationwide. A quarter of all homes in Queensland have rooftop solar panels. But it doesn’t stop here – Mark Bailey, Queensland Energy Minister, says the state aims to have 1 million homes with solar panels installed by the year 2020.