From Townsville with Love and Clean Energy


Every day of every week there are trade missions from all parts of the world descending on China’s cities determined to exploit the opportunities to learn and do business. But few would be as determined as a Townsville group to get a sustainability business message across and see where its particular clean and green applications and innovations can find a home in China writes Ken Hickson.

Townsville in tropical north Queensland seems a long way – in more ways than one – from the bustling and booming cities of China, like Shanghai, Changshu and Dezhou. But there’s growing interest from a bunch of enthusiastic and innovative businesses from the small city of less than 200,000 to explore opportunities in China.

Twenty Townsvillians are braving language and cultural differences to embark on a business and life-changing experience, on a mission this month (September) to attend the Solar City Congress in Dezhou and visit the rapidly expanding solar city, as well as visit the World Expo in Shanghai and the “big-sister” city of Changshu.dezhou_solar_city_confernece_centre_web

* (Picture: China Solar Valley’s International Conference Centre, Sun-Moon Mansion. Courtesy China Solar City)


Lying in the Yangtze Delta, which is the most economically developed area of China, Changshu enjoys the advantage of being adjacent to Shanghai, the economic center of China, and other big cities such as Suzhou, Wuxi and Nantong. With a mild climate and fertile land, it has a good harvest every year, thus got its name as Changshu, meaning “good harvest all the time”.

But the Townsville delegation to China is not only visiting its sister city – with a population of 1.2 million – but also focussing a lot of attention on Dezhou Solar City where 80 percent of the city has solar hot water. And that’s the venue for the Dezhou Solar City Congress.

Solar and the heat from the sun is important to Townsville, not only because it is in the tropics and has a thriving tourist industry due to its location close to the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, but because it is one of Australian’s dedicated solar cities.

Its solar city status and commitment to a renewable energy future contrasts with its role as a major port for export of mineral concentrates and sugar, and its proximity to the rich North-West Minerals Province, which collectively contribute more than A$10 billion to the economy each year.

The solar project, which largely revolves around the off shore Magnetic Island, trials a range of initiatives that aim to reduce wasteful energy usage, increase solar energy usage and cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50,000 tonnes.

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The Townsville team’s visit to Changshu will include visits to nearby solar  technology plants, including one of the famous Suntech facilities in China, founded  in 2001 by leading solar scientist Dr. Zhengrong Shi, who, Australians  like to remind the world, was educated at the University of New South Wales where he developed his particular “brand” of solar technology.
Aside from the Dezhou Solar Congress, the trade mission will also visit several big companies in Dezhou related to renewable energies: Himin Group, Bright Air-conditioning Co., Ltd., Jupiter Wind Composites Co., Ltd., Zhongli New Energy Science Co., Ltd. and Century Wind Energy Equipment Co., Ltd. 

Dezhou is also home to the “One million solar roofs” and “solar bathrooms in thousand villages” project. Almost all downtown residential buildings have solar water heaters on their roofs – with an impressive view of one million solar roofs proof of Dezhou’s dedication towards being a world solar city.

Learning from China as well as exploring opportunities for trade in products and services in the clean tech sector will be the main purpose of the visit and the Townsville team includes some very innovative and enterprising tropical Queensland businesses, including Ergon Energy’s Solar City Manager Ian Cruickshank who will exchange experiences at the conference on Townsville’s Solar City.

Other Queensland businesses being represented through the Townsville mission to the Dezhou Solar conference include project management consultancy Revere Projects, Allsafe Energy Efficiencies Products, rock and solar geology exploration company Rocsol, VRM Biologic, Funnel shipping business, My Clean Sky (a carbon offset provider specialising in air travel), sustainability consulting firm SEA O2, Cafalo, boutique ecological design & project management firm Zingspace as well as representatives from the Townsville City Council.

For more information on the Townsville Mission visit:




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