CRITICS often gush about her star power, but it was solar power on the mind of the Australian actress, Cate Blanchett.She joined her husband and fellow Sydney Theatre Company artistic director, Andrew Upton, on the roof of the Walsh Bay theatre yesterday to mark the start of work on the company's solar power scheme.
The $5.2 million initiative, Greening the Wharf, is designed to create sustainable technology at the historic finger wharf.
''As a cultural institution we want to be engaged in what is the most important issue that is facing us as a species, that is, climate change,'' Blanchett said.
The project involves the installation of 1906 solar panels, making it the second-largest rooftop solar structure in Australia - capable of providing 70 per cent of Sydney Theatre's electricity needs. ''We all know theatre happens under electric lights,'' Blanchett said. ''We're a huge consumer of energy, so this is a really positive thing.''
The upgrade will also include rainwater harvesting, better waste management and cutting water use.
These measures are expected to save more than 80 million litres of water and 126 million ''black balloons'' of carbon pollution in the first 10 years.
The project was brought about by government and philanthropic support, including the chief executive of Suntech, Dr Zhengrong Shi.
The Age/Sydney Morning Herald
June 26, 2010