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Rottnest Island, the holiday destination in Western Australia famous for its annual swim and unique fauna, is set to boost its use of renewable energy.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing $4.8 million support for Hydro Tasmania to supply Rottnest Island with 45% renewables via its innovative off-grid power system.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the high cost of shipped-in diesel presented a compelling case for island communities to make the switch to renewable energy.

“Hydro Tasmania, with support from ARENA, has spent several years developing its off-grid energy solutions that combine renewable and enabling technologies with existing diesel generation to provide reliable power,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“This project will build on Hydro Tasmania’s efforts on King Island. Six hundred kilowatts of new solar photovoltaic (PV) will be integrated with the existing 600 kW wind turbine and diesel generators on Rottnest Island by adopting the advanced control systems developed during the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project.

“Hydro Tasmania will also integrate its control systems with the Rottnest Island desalination plant and water storage facility, allowing the plant and pumps to be switched on when renewable generation outstrips demand on the island. This will allow more renewable energy to be used without the need to install batteries.

“This innovative approach could be replicated in other remote off-grid communities that rely on desalinated water.”

The majority, up to $3 million, of ARENA’s funding may be recouped over the life of the $7.3 million project if it is successful.

Mr Frischknecht said there was an important public education aspect to the project.

“A new energy technology centre is planned for construction on the island, designed to educate visitors about the project and sustainability more broadly through interactive digital exhibits,” Mr Frischknecht said.

The island’s 5 GWh annual demand is currently supplied by five conventional diesel engines, two low-load diesel engines and a single wind turbine that was installed in 2004.

The project is due for completion in March 2017.

About Hydro Tasmania

Hydro Tasmania is Australia’s leading renewable energy business, generating hydropower and wind power in Tasmania and trading electricity and energy-related environmental products (such as Renewable Energy Certificates) in the Australian market.

Hydro Tasmania is the largest water manager in Australia.

Owned by the Government of Tasmania, Hydro Tasmania employs more than 1000 people and has assets worth around $5 billion.

More information

Media release from The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, 18 November 2015: Rottnest Island on track for cleaner energy supply

ARENA media contacts

Media release – Tourism hotspot to boost renewable energy use (PDF 365KB)

Last updated 06 August 2020
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