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Energy stories

Island gets renewables hub

Flinders Island has switched on a $13.38 million wind and solar hub which will supply on average 60 per cent of the island's power. Renewable supply could rise to 100 per cent when the weather is right. The picturesque island at the eastern end of Bass Strait is home to about 800 people who have previously depended on shipped-in diesel for power. The new hub uses sophisticated controls to manage a fluctuating mix of wind, solar and diesel power and is likely to be replicated in other remote Australian communities. The project was predominantly funded by Hydro Tasmania, with a $5.5 million contribution from the Federal Government's independent Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Similar hybrid technology has been installed on Tasmania's King Island, at Coober Pedy in South Australia, on Rottnest Island in Western Australia and at several smaller off-the-grid communities in the Northern Territory, but Flinders Island's system is the only one to have been built in shipping containers which were then taken to the island before being "plugged-in" to one another. There are plans to add tidal power to the Flinders Island mix over coming years and Hydro Tasmania's CEO, Steve Davy, said there was international interest in the project.

8 February 2018, Edition 191

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