Thursday, 8 November 2012

King Island showcases renewable energy solutions to the world
27 Oct 2012

The first stage of a world-leading project on King Island with the potential to provide solutions to the challenge of supplying renewable energy to remote communities across the globe was officially opened today.

The $46 million King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP) brings together a portfolio of new and existing technologies to increase renewable energy use on King Island and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. It is also helping to constrain power prices on the island.

The first-stage system was officially opened today by the Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson. He was joined by the Premier of Tasmania Lara Giddings and Deputy Premier Bryan Green. KIREIP is an initiative of Hydro Tasmania and is being developed with the assistance of the Australian Government's Renewable Energy Demonstration Program and the Tasmanian Government.

Hydro Tasmania Chairman Dr David Crean said solutions developed under KIREIP had significant potential to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce reliance on diesel fuel for power generation on Islands and in off-grid systems across the globe. The aim of KIREIP is to reduce diesel consumption for power generation by more than 65% and provide for the ability to generate all of King Island's power needs using renewable energy when conditions allow, Dr Crean said.

The unique part of this system is the integration of technologies. Although the renewable generation sources such as wind, solar and biodiesel are mature, the enabling and storage technologies are new and emerging. The way these technologies are being used and integrated is world-leading and another example of the clever solutions to real-world problems that have been developed in Tasmania and can be exported globally.

Hydro Tasmania's CEO Roy Adair said while it was normally costly to provide energy to remote areas such as the Bass Strait Islands, the investment in renewable energy had reduced the operational costs of the Bass Strait island system. Mr Adair said the KIREIP solution could be established in other remote and off-grid locations around the world, providing cost-effective renewable energy solutions.

Although there are remote area power systems in some parts of the world that are capable of supplying the energy needs of single homes or small villages, this is the first remote system on this scale capable of supplying the energy needs of an entire community primarily through wind and solar power.

Hydro Tasmania is proud to be able to showcase this innovation through the demonstration centre we have established at the King Island Advance Hybrid Power Station. The demonstration centre allows us to provide energy companies with a first-hand look at our innovation solutions, and we expect this to translate into the uptake of the technology globally.