Battery Back-up for Hydro Tasmania Wind Project

An innovative renewable energy project launched on remote King Island in Bass Strait has been welcomed by Australia’s Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp. The AUD$6.85 million (US$4.8 million) King Island Renewable Energy Expansion Project comprises two new 850 kW wind turbines to supplement the existing 750 kW wind farm – an advanced energy storage system to capture wind energy generated by the turbines, and a sophisticated control system to manage the operation of the power system and feed into the island’s existing diesel power system.

King Island, Australia – March 19, 2004 [] Speaking at the launch, Kemp said the Australian Government provided a total of $3.24 (US$ 2.3) million in funding for three integrated projects through the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program and the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program. This contributed almost half of the estimated total cost of the project, with the remainder funded by renewable energy company Hydro Tasmania, and developers of advanced energy storage systems, Pinnacle VRB. “The expansion project will result in a reduction in diesel consumption of over one million liters per year, reduced air pollution and estimated annual greenhouse gas savings of over 2,700 tons. It will also reduce the need to transport diesel to this sensitive and beautiful environment,” Kemp said. “The wind farm expansion significantly increases the wind energy generation on the Island, bringing the total capacity of the wind farm to 2,450 kW, providing approximately 50% of the Island’s power for its 1,800 residents from a renewable energy resource.” The new innovations in energy storage and control system technology will significantly increase the percentage of usable wind energy being captured by the wind turbines, as well as managing energy demand and optimising energy efficiency. At the official opening of the King Island wind farm expansion, Hydro Tasmania Chairman, Peter Rae, said that what had begun as an experiment in 1998 was now a significant renewable energy supply for King Island. “Solving the problem of wind energy variability and system reliability through the installation of a Vanadium Redox Battery is a key feature of the expansion,” Rae said.”The battery, which was supplied and installed by Pinnacle VRB, smoothes out the variability of the wind by storing excess wind energy and releasing it back into the system in a controlled way. This is the first commercial application of the battery in Australia.” “The further development of these technologies is a key factor in making renewable energy more technically viable and commercially competitive,” Kemp said. “This project highlights some of the world-class renewable energy technologies being developed in Australia and is an excellent example of Government and industry working together to jointly tackle climate change. The Australian-developed energy storage technology used in this project has significant export potential for use in remote area power systems, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.”
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