Power tower in the wind


TOWNSVILLE will soon boast what is believed to be Australia's first high wind turbine to promote sustainable energy.

Council approval was given last night for $49,000 to be spent on the Italian-made Ropatec "wind rotor" tower.

A further $8500 was allocated for interpretive signage to explain how the turbo wind rotor works and the benefits of wind power technology.

The wind rotor is tipped to be positioned at The Strand, where Townsville Mayor Tony Mooney said it was expected to become a significant landmark.

He said it had substantial educational and tourism potential for the city.

"This is an exciting project that we couldn't pass up," he said.

"Townsville has the opportunity to become the first city to install this particular type of turbine.

"Although the wind rotor will produce power, although somewhat limited, its main advantages are its artistic look and its value as an education tool to promote sustainable energy."

The council agreed to purchase the wind rotor, which will need to be imported to Australia, after a package about its benefits was presented by Townsville-based renewable energy firm FNQ Solar.

The Ropatec device can produce enough energy daily to power seven floodlights for more than five hours.

Its twin wind rotors stand 4.4m high and are positioned on top of a 4m tower, out of the public's reach.

Cr Mooney said a final decision still had to be made about where the wind rotor would be positioned in the city, but The Strand was the most likely spot.

Wind velocities were suitable along The Strand and the power could be fed back into the local light system, he said.

The wind rotor is expected to be delivered to the council in early February.