First solar powered water supply for Queensland

Julius Dam
Julius Dam

Mount Isa could soon be home to Queensland’s first solar powered water supply.

The Mount Isa Water Board is progressing a study to bring reduced-cost solar pumping from Lake Julius.

Minister for Biofuels, Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey said this innovative project could see renewable energy being used to increase water supply security, while reducing operational costs.

“This project has the potential to reduce the substantial cost of pumping water from Lake Julius to Mount Isa’s water treatment plant, some 70km away,” Mr Bailey said.

A pre-feasibility study has been completed for the project, and it will soon progress to a concept design.

MIWB Chief Executive Stephen Farrelly said the pre-feasibility study undertaken in June this year had established that the project is expected to be viable and would generate a net cost saving for customers.

“The project is still in its infancy and, as is appropriate for such a substantial investment, it will need to progress through a series of approvals before a final investment decision can be made,” Mr Farrelly said.

“We can see that if successful, it will have great benefits to our customers and the community.”

Mount Isa Mayor Joyce McCulloch said the study aligned with the council’s plans for exploring renewable energy projects for the future of Mount Isa.

“This project could bring so many benefits to Mount Isa,” Ms McCulloch said.

“There is the obvious water security and reduced costs of pumping from Lake Julius, but it would also mean greater year-round recreation access for Lake Moondarra if the region can use water from Julius for a similar cost.

“North West Queensland and Mount Isa have been identified as having one of the highest amounts of solar radiation per square metre, so it makes perfect sense for solar projects to be pursued.”

Mr Bailey said the government continued to support a range of solar projects across Queensland, including in the north west.

“This has the potential to build on the recently announced Kidston, Longreach and Kennedy large-scale solar projects, which will assist the state’s north west by bringing jobs,” Mr Bailey said.

“Queensland is well on its way to becoming a renewable energy economy, helping the environment and powering our regional communities and industries.”