Print

Regional Communities Climate Heroes

In regional communities across the state, businesses are joining a growing alliance of climate heroes, achieving cost savings with new advances in renewable energy and efficiency.

Sustainable solutions already exist that have the potential to create more jobs and commercial prospects for Queensland businesses, and safer and happier communities.

By adapting, organising and innovating, local businesses can help their communities to remain resilient and to prosper into the future.

The following case studies show that with early action, everyone can profit.

Traditional Family Group, Barcaldine

Duration 1:01

Traditional Family Group is in Indigenous-run cleaning and maintenance business in Barcaldine, Central Western Queensland.

The business won the contract to maintain the Barcaldine Solar Farm in Central West Queensland, which consists of 80,000 panels that need to be cleaned on a daily basis to ensure optimal power.

Traditional Family Group is now looking at expanding its business to maintain other solar farms in the area, demonstrating how renewable energy projects can be good for local enterprises.

  • Traditional Family Group began as a local cleaning business in Barcaldine in Central West Queensland
  • It is run by Janeece Thompson and her family, who are Bidjara/Kara-Kara Custodians of the area, and employs nine people from the local community.
  • When the Barcaldine Solar Farm was built, Janeece approached the owners and asked if they needed cleaning services for the staff kitchen.
  • Instead they were awarded the contract to maintain the entire grounds, including cleaning 80,000 solar panels on a regular basis.
  • Traditional Family Group is now looking at expanding to maintain other solar farms in the area, which presents a major opportunity for the business as the region becomes a hub for renewable energy.

RAPAD, Central West Queensland

The Central West Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) has a vision to capitalise on Queensland’s shift to a low carbon economy by generating the state’s electricity needs through renewable energy projects, bringing transformative benefits to a region that has been hit hard by drought.

Headquartered in Longreach, RAPAD’s mission is to foster, facilitate and promote the growth of Central Western Queensland, where populations and livelihoods are under increasing pressure.

  • RAPAD hopes to ensure a viable future for remote Queensland by exploring new pathways that will bring greater resilience and prosperity to the region.
  • RAPAD wants to capitalise on the natural assets of the Central West, which include space, sunshine and considerable geothermal reserves, to become a hub for renewable energy.
  • Benefits include local employment in the construction and maintenance of renewable energy projects, bringing new skills and training to local workforces.
  • Over $100 million has already been invested in renewable energy projects in the Central West, with the region’s natural advantages set to make it a hub for energy intensive industries.
  • RAPAD is exploring future possibilities such as the establishment of micro-grids to enable local businesses and residential populations to access reliable, cheap and locally-generated renewable energy.

Siena Catholic College, Sippy Downs

Siena Catholic College solar panels

In 2016, Siena Catholic College at Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast was looking for a way to reduce energy costs, reduce CO2 emissions and provide a more sustainable campus.

The school engaged Planet Ark Power to create a large-scale solar system, consisting of 80 KW of rooftop solar using 308 solar panels and 3 inverters. Since installing the system in 2016, the school has achieved the following benefits:

  • Anticipated generation of 120,000 kWh to mitigate against cost of future energy price rises
  • Estimated annual savings of $20,000 in energy costs
  • Estimated annual emission savings of 92 tonnes of carbon (the equivalent 500,000 kms travelled by car).

Lemontree feedlot, Darling Downs

McNamee Lemontree Feedlot

The Lemontree feedlot is a beef and dairy feeding facility in the Darling Downs, 200 km west of Brisbane. The owners, McNamee Partners, were looking for ways to reduce costs and make its business more successful.

As electricity is the largest operating cost after wages, the business set out to reduce grid energy demand by installing a solar energy system made up of 960 solar panels.

  • Planet Ark Power ensured the project was completed with a no upfront payment lease whereby the savings on energy costs from the system less the lease payments is cashflow positive from day one.
  • McNamee will acquire ownership of the system after seven years of the lease term, then once owned and the lease ends have another 15 to 20 years of essentially free energy.
  • McNamee gets electricity price and supply security for the next 20 to 25 years, lowering the risk to the business of any large energy price increases.

What regional businesses can do

Find out how you can take advantage of new opportunities in the low carbon economy.

  • Reduce your energy bills
  • Calculate your carbon footprint
  • Offset your carbon emissions
  • Reduce your waste
  • Educate your customers about sustainable practices.

If you’re already enjoying the benefits of greater sustainability, we’d love to hear your story. Contact us at climatechange@des.qld.gov.au

Additional resources