Rottnest Island, the home of the Quokka and other unique Australian animals, is set to reduce its reliance on shipped-in diesel using solar energy and smart power control systems.
The Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is providing Hydro Tasmania with $4.8 million support for a $7.3 million project to install 600 kW of new solar PV on the island.
The project will double the installed capacity of renewable energy on the island and save an estimated additional 500 tonnes of CO2 per year.
I’m confident this will serve as another strong case study that could be replicated in other remote, island and off-grid locations that rely on emissions intensive diesel generation for power and fresh water.
Advanced control systems will be used to effectively combine the new solar with the existing diesel generators and wind turbine, increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing the amount of diesel required for power generation by a total of 45 per cent.
The smart control systems will also be integrated into the island’s desalination plant, allowing its operation to be optimised to take advantage of periods when there is excess renewable energy.
Desalination is an energy intensive process and this capability will allow fresh water to be created more cheaply and with fewer emissions.
Hydro Tasmania will work with the Rottnest Island Authority, which is providing $2 million funding towards the project.
Around half a million annual visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the new infrastructure and sustainability at a new technology centre being constructed as part of the project.
This is the third integrated-renewable island project Hydro Tasmania has embarked on with ARENA support.