Following cessation of sandmining, the economic recovery on North Stradbroke Island requires development of jobs and industries in a range of sectors. In line with this objective, I have instigated development of an innovative sustainable energy plan for North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah). This could result in the Island becoming Australia’s first community to be fully renewable energy-powered.
Earlier this year I co-authored a scoping study for the Minjerribah Community-Owned Renewable Energy Project with local award-winning energy expert, Trevor Berrill. This scoping study was presented to QYAC and has also been provided to the Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elders in Council.
This project has potential to provide lower cost power, energy supply certainty when the power connection to the mainland is lost and will return profits to local economic projects. Future expansion of the scheme to allow export of community solar energy to neighbouring Southern Moreton Bay Islands is also a real possibility. The overall intent is for the project to be owned, developed and operated by the local community.
The proposal is to use renewable sources and innovative storage systems to make Minjerribah/North Stradbroke Island energy self-sufficient. Solar opportunities have been in Quandamooka community plans since the 90’s and the 2011 Economic Transition Strategy Indigenous Business Plan. In the longer run this initiative could extend to other innovations like electric vehicles.
Cameron Costello, the QYAC CEO, has welcomed the proposal stating that “Energy self-sufficiency is part of the Quandamooka Strategic Plan and would be a perfect fit with the objective of making Quandamooka Country one of Australia’s most eco-cultural sustainable places. Claire Richardson herself brings a new positive energy to Oodgeroo and QYAC is keen to work with Trevor and Claire to evaluate the possibilities for providing all of the Minjerribah community with cheaper and cleaner energy”.
Norm Enoch, a Minjerribah Moorgumpin Elder, has also welcomed the project. “This proposal is consistent with achieving sustainable economic growth on Minjerribah and, as a whole-of-community project, could bring benefits to the entire Minjerribah community.”
The North Stradbroke Island (NSI) Economic Transition aims to ensure a strong, sustainable economy for all who live and work there. A sustainable energy plan is an essential component of sustainable development and will greatly enhance the island’s ability to market eco-tourism and a clean green economy.