Australia’s King Island Achieves 100% Renewable Energy Supply From Off-grid System

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Hydro Tasmania’s off-grid power system in King Island has achieved a remarkable achievement that could have significant ramifications for off-grid power systems across the world. King Island achieved 100% renewable energy supply for ‘sustained periods’ last month thanks to a power supply backup system that uses renewable energy to ensure an uninterrupted supply.

Proposed plan for King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project
Proposed plan for King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project | Credit: Hydro Tasmania

The island, which otherwise would be dependent on imported electricity and fuel, now seems well equipped to generate its usual as well as back up electricity through renewable energy sources.

Hydro Tasmania used its own automated power control systems and flywheel technology to supply uninterrupted power last month. For the first time, the company did not use diesel backup systems to keep the power supply going. Of course, the ample availability of wind and solar energy resources on the small island to the north of Australia’s island state helped the company achieve this milestone.

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Currently, according to the company, the backup system could be diesel free when there is sufficient wind and solar energy available or during the off-peak demand hours (night and dawn). But Hydro Tasmania is working to make this system foolproof.

Demand side management and energy storage solutions are being planned to make the backup system completely diesel free at all times.

The automated diesel-free system, accompanied with demand side management and energy storage, could prove to be a blessing for small island nations and remote regions across the world. Island nations in the South Pacific cannot afford to be dependent on imported diesel nor can they have extensive transmission systems spanning hundreds of kilometres across open seas.

Hydro Tasmania is implementing these systems under the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP).

100 kW dual-axis tracking solar PV project in King Island
100 kW dual-axis tracking solar PV project in King Island | Credit: Hydro Tasmania

Among the many renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage solutions implemented under this project is a 100 kW solar PV project. This project was installed in 2008 and uses dual-axis tracking, making it more efficient than conventional solar PV projects. The project will soon see increased use of biodiesel produced from recycled cooking oil and tallow and installation of Australia’s largest energy storage battery system.

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Mridul Chadha

Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

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