RePowering Alice Springs
Alice Springs citizens have long shared a vision of Alice Springs as a Solar City. With over 300 sunny days every year, Alice Springs has some of the highest solar potential in the world. The Arid Lands Environment Centre has had a long history of championing a solar future for Alice Springs, and continues to advocate strongly for a 100% renewable energy target for Alice Springs by 2030.
In 2001 ALEC first posited Alice Springs as a solar city, and was an integral stakeholder in the bid to make Alice Springs a solar city as part of a Federal Government initiative. Alice Solar City was one of the seven projects funded through the Australian Government’s Solar Cities Program, a $97 million national program which launched in 2008 and ran until June 2013. This project delivered 2711 free home energy surveys (30% of the whole community), installed 277 residential PV systems and 5 systems on high profile public buildings, and provided numerous other energy related benefits to the Alice Springs community.
Early in 2016 the then NT Government announced to invest $75 million in ten new gas-fired generators at the local Owen Springs power plant with no accompanying investment into renewable energy and no community consultation. This decision ignited significant community concern, and ALEC has supported the community group RePower Alice Springs to form and take a leading role in advocating for the transition to renewable energy.
RePower Alice Springs has had a significant impact in re-invigorating the campaign for a Territory transition to renewable energy and has been meeting with the three Territory energy utilities (Territory Generation, Jacana and Power Water Corporation), government ministers, as well as facilitating local community engagement on solar energy. They have just finalised a community solar survey and are planning for a community energy project.
RePower Alice Springs invites local organisations, businesses and community members to share the vision for a renewable energy future for Alice Springs.
ALEC acknowledges the NT Government's commitment to a 50% renewable energy target by 2030. However due to it’s high solar penetration and unique isolated electrical grid the group believes Alice Springs has the capacity to aim for 100% renewable energy in the same timeframe.
Significant planning and investment into renewable energy must be made immediately for Australia to meet its’ global climate commitments. All over the world communities, councils, states and even countries are committing to a 100% renewable energy future. Alice Springs is one of the sunniest places in the world but has an average of 12% of current energy generation coming from solar - we can do much better.
ALEC is pushing for the NT Government to develop a comprehensive climate policy that includes a decarbonisation plan for the NT. In the meantime ALEC is working with the community to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.