Almost half of Rottnest Island powered by renewables

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The Water and Renewable Energy Nexus Project (WREN) has enabled renewable energy for almost half the power at Rottnest Island in Western Australia.

The partnership between Hydro Tasmania, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) significantly reduces the island’s dependence on diesel generation.

Hydro Tasmania’s Hybrid Energy Solutions team has installed a 600 kilowatt (kW) solar array to complement the island’s existing 600kW wind turbine. Its hybrid control system and enabling technology will manage the variable mix of wind, solar and diesel power.

The new power system will make Rottnest Island 45 per cent renewably-powered on average (factoring in the current wind power component), and up to 95 per cent renewably-powered at times of high wind and solar generation. By integrating solar and wind generation with the desalination plant and water storage facilities, spare energy can also be used to create clean drinking water.

An app called “Rottnest Island Water and renewable energy nexus” can be downloaded for both Apple and Android, providing real-time power usage and educational materials.

Hydro Tasmania’s Hybrid Energy Solutions team, led by manager Ray Massie, are international leaders in helping remote communities make the switch to reliable clean energy systems.

“This is ready-made Tasmanian technology making remote Australian communities more sustainable and affordable,” Mr Massie said.

“That’s obviously crucial for a beautiful place like Rottnest Island that’s very dependent of tourism. We’re proud to be making a difference, and confident there’s much more innovation and potential to come for this world-leading technology.”

The King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project has already transformed that community from being 100 per cent reliant on diesel power to about 65 per cent renewably powered, on average. A similar project is nearing completion on Flinders Island.

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