Australian Cash Splash On Solar Powered Radio Telescope


The Rudd Government announced on Wednesday it will invest $47.3 million in projects to ensure solar energy and geothermal heat  power Australia’s bid to host the world’s most powerful radio telescope. 
The Government says the investment has the potential to cut power costs by $5 million per year, and slash Australia’s carbon emissions by 12,000 tonnes per year – the equivalent of taking 6,000 cars off the road. The projects will also assist the CSIRO achieve its 2015 carbon neutrality goal.
The $2.5 billion SKA radio telescope project bid is a joint venture between Australia and New Zealand. The project involves 20 countries and will have the potential for discovery ten thousand times greater than existing radio telescopes, helping to answer fundamental questions about the evolution of the universe.
The Rudd Government says hosting the SKA will generate economic and scientific benefits, particularly for Western Australia, including in areas such as supercomputing, data transmission, renewable energy, construction and manufacturing.
Construction on the renewable energy generation projects is scheduled to commence in November 2010 and are projected to be completed in August 2013, generating 62 construction jobs in the process. While construction starts this year, the decision on the location of the SKA between Australia-New Zealand and Southern Africa isn’t expected until 2012.
The investment is part of the Sustainability Round of the Education Investment Fund, a $4 billion investment package in strategic tertiary education and research infrastructure.