The Queensland government has announced a round of funding to bring the state’s oldest renewable energy facilities up to scratch. While authorities and organisations focus on funding new buildings and equipment to create new job opportunities in Queensland, the ongoing maintenance of these facilities is providing a good opportunity for apprentices and trainees to learn on the job.
The $1 million in funding, which was announced by the state government on August 28, will support a five-yearly maintenance program, bringing Far North Queensland’s most aged equipment up to date.
The Barron Gorge Hydro Power Station will be the scene for much of the maintenance work. Queensland Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said Far Northerners will subsequently have greater access to clean and reliable energy, though the job will test the skills of the contracted workers.
“This is going to be a tough job for the Cairns-based contractors, inspecting, cleaning and repairing the pipe that feeds water from the Barron River into the power station,” he explained.
“I know the strictest safety standards will be followed and I commend the crew working on this important project.”
Renewable energy creating jobs in Queensland
Renewable energy resources, such as hydro and solar power, is an attractive prospect in the Sunshine State. The territory gets between seven and nine sunshine hours a day on average, according to the Bureau of Meteorology – distinctly more than places such as Melbourne (six) and Hobart (five).
Green energy developments are also providing significant job opportunities in Queensland, as seen in the recent announcement from Ergon Energy.
Continuous maintenance sets a good ground for on-the-job skill development for those in traineeships and apprenticeships in industries such as construction, electrical engineering and others in the utilities sector.
Barron Gorge Hydro Power Station
The maintenance on the Barron Gorge Hydro Power Station could extend its life span by decades. A general refurbishment to the facility back in 2011 future-proofed it for 40 years, the Barron River MP Craig Crawford explained in the recent August announcement.
This new maintenance work is set to take place on the two turbines in the plant’s main hall, allowing the equipment to reach its peak operating conditions. Mr Crawford said this will also benefit the community with greater energy availability.
“At full capacity it can power around 60,000 households and, although this power enters a very large east coast power grid, much of this power will be used in Far North Queensland,” he began.
“Electricity is generated by using water from the Barron River to turn turbines, so it fits in well with the strong environmental values of the tropical north to have this great renewable energy source operating to its full potential.”
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator