King Island demonstrates 100 percent renewable penetration


Hobart, Tasmania — (METERING.COM) — August 1, 2013 – The King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP) has achieved another milestone with sustained periods of 100 percent renewable energy penetration when the diesel operation could be shut off completely.

With this result it is expected that zero diesel operation will now occur for extended periods overnight when customer demand is lowest, and in daylight hours under high wind conditions.

KIREIP is an initiative of Hydro Tasmania, and brings together a portfolio of new and existing technologies to increase renewable energy use on King Island and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

King Island is an island of about 1,000 km2 in extent located in the Bass Strait, approximately half way between the Australian mainland and northwest Tasmania.

“The aim is to reduce diesel consumption for power generation on King Island by more than 65 percent and provide for the ability to generate all of the island’s power needs using renewable energy when conditions allow,” explained project director Simon Gamble. “Achieving 100 percent renewable energy penetration in large off-grid systems has remained elusive until now, and is very difficult to achieve given the need to maintain reliability and security of power supply under highly variable wind and solar conditions.”
To achieve this result Hydro Tasmania has used its own advanced automated control systems and dynamic resistor technology, coupled with a standard flywheel uninterruptible power supply system that was installed last year. This enables all diesel generation to be switched off when there is sufficient wind and solar power to meet customer demand. The transition from diesel power to 100 percent renewables, and back again as and when required, is entirely automated and allows the station to achieve significant diesel savings while operating unstaffed.

Hydro Tasmania anticipates that later in the year the performance will be enhanced further through the use of customer load control and energy storage. This will help maintain a stable power system in the absence of diesel generation, even during lulls in wind or solar conditions.

Hydro Tasmania is also now seeking to commercialize its off-grid energy solutions and export them to customers in Australia, and in due course to the Pacific and the Southeast Asia region.

KIREIP is being supported by the Australian government’s Renewable Energy Demonstration Program and the Tasmanian government.