Tsigris family weigh in on energy debate for Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest

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Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest does not have mains electricity, and a “microgrid” project designed to power homes and businesses in the region has stalled, ABC News has reported.

In the meantime, many residents are burning hundreds of litres of diesel fuel a week to keep their businesses running.

Tourists, who visit the globally renowned rainforest and crystal-clear waterways of the World Heritage-listed Daintree in Far North Queensland, are always shocked to hear of the measures locals go to in order to stay open.

“They come to a World Heritage-listed national park… and the message is, ‘We’re not really committed to the environment’,” local hotel owner Mark Cromwell told ABC News.

In 2022, the federal government signed off on a $18.75 million funding deal for a renewable-energy microgrid, which would include an 8-megawatt solar farm and power delivered to homes and businesses via underground cabling. The government promised power by 2024, but construction is yet to start on the microgrid.

Peter and Gina Tsigris and their five children, aged seven to 14, moved from Marrickville in Sydney to the Daintree in 2017. They bought a 24-acre property in 2021, where they now run their Daintree Fan Palm Farm and cafe.

The couple installed a solar system and batteries at a cost of about $100,000, but occasionally have to rely on a generator for their energy needs.

Although some Daintree locals are angered at the microgrid project delay, Mrs Tsigris said she was “neutral.”

“Around about the time we moved in, there were people saying by April 2024, power was going to be guaranteed, but we’re still holding meetings and talking about it,” she told ABC News.

“Who knows if it’s even going to come to pass?”

Source: ABC News.

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