Council considers SEXI initiative

Cowra Shire Council will, later this month, consider supporting a proposal which could see the council receiving approximately $1 million of solar panels.

Council's general committee last week recommended the council provide in principle support to the Solar Energy eXchange Initiative (SEXI) and the development of a solar energy industry in the region.

Councillor Peter Wright voted against recommending support for the proposal.

"It's a feel good thing and that's all that's going to happen," Cr Wright said of the proposal.

"If these projects are only going to happen with very substantial grants in the beginning the ongoing costs could far outweigh the benefits.

"It's a bit pie in the sky for me," Cr Wright added.

If council votes to support the proposal later this month it will call on the Federal Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to provide up to $200 million over five years to the SEXI group of Councils to allow the SEXI proposal to be built and operated.

Cowra Shire Infrastructure and Operations director George Ridley said the panels and the benefits from them would be owned by the council.

"Additionally, five Council areas would accommodate a medium scale concentrating solar power plant to produce sufficient energy (3.6MW) for a typical country town," Mr Ridley said.

These installations, he said, would pilot different technology and cost between $20 and $40 million each.

"It is proposed that this $200 million project be funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which currently has $2 billion of uncommitted funds to spend on renewable energy projects by 2022.

CENTROC resolved in April last year to provide a letter of support for the project.

Other regional organisations to support the project include

Orange ROC, Riverina and Murray ROC and Western Division Councils of NSW.Supporting the proposal Cr Ian Brown said: "I only hope it proceeds in some way".

Council's general committee last week recommended the council provide in principle support to the Solar Energy eXchange Initiative (SEXI) and the development of a solar energy industry in the region. File picture.

Council's general committee last week recommended the council provide in principle support to the Solar Energy eXchange Initiative (SEXI) and the development of a solar energy industry in the region. File picture.