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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Hydro-Electric Corporation


    Rottnest Island, Western Australia

    ARENA Program

    Regional Australia’s Renewables

  • Start Date

    May 2015



  • Project Partners
    Rottnest Island Authority


The Rottnest Island Water and Renewable Energy Nexus (WREN) Project will combine innovative use of renewable energy and smart controls to help reduce the amount of diesel fuel needed to generate power and produce clean drinking water at Rottnest Island, a popular tourist destination.


Like many remote and island locations, Rottnest Island is heavily reliant on diesel fuel to supply its electricity needs. Diesel fuel supply to remote Australia and island locations is expensive and subject to global pressures on price and availability.

The island’s 5 GWh power demand is currently provided by five conventional diesel engines, two low-load diesel engines and a single 600 kW wind turbine. A large amount of energy is needed to run the desalination plant that produces fresh water for the island.


The Rottnest Island Water and Renewable Energy Nexus (WREN) Project will introduce 600 kW of solar energy into the existing power system to boost and diversify the renewable energy capacity in the system.

Hydro Tasmania will deploy an advanced control system, along with a dynamically controlled resistor, to maximise the contribution of renewable energy. The control system will be integrated with the desalination plant and water storage facility to switch on the plant and pumps when renewable generation outpaces demand on the island.

A new energy technology centre is planned for construction on the island, which will allow visitors to interact with the systems through digital educational exhibits.


The combined contribution of wind and solar generation, working with smart demand-management of the desalination plant, is expected to reduce diesel fuel used for power generation by 45%. This will reduce Rottnest Island’s reliance on shipped in diesel, potentially providing cheaper and more reliable power.

Running the desalination plant on renewables rather than diesel will reduce the cost and emissions intensity of producing the island’s drinking water.

The energy technology centre will allow visitors to learn about the project and sustainability more broadly.

The project holds exciting global potential, as similar power and water challenges confront many remote and island locations around the world.

Read more about hybrid technologies.

Last updated 04 August 2020


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