Tasmania Funds Wind, Hydrogen in Energy Policy

A distributed grid is necessary for power generation in Tasmania. So when the Federal Government developed an energy policy it included AUD 6.5 million (USD 4.9 million) for the Remote Renewable Power Generation Program (RRPGP) to encourage the development of renewable energy solutions for remote communities.

Minister for Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, Bryan Green, said the most exciting project chosen to receive funding from the program is a project to upgrade the power supply on Cape Barren Island. The Tasmanian Government and the utility Hydro Tasmania formed a partnership to develop the proposal with guidance from the Australian Greenhouse Office. A wind facility will provide electricity for the power grid in the island, but in times of low energy demand the wind energy will be used to separate hydrogen from water for use as a fuel in a support generation system. “This cutting edge hydrogen technology has been developed by Hydro Tasmania and the University of Tasmania and this project provides an opportunity to demonstrate how hydrogen and wind can be used together to provide a clean, environmentally sustainable power supply in remote regions,” Green said. He said the Federal Department of Family and Community Services was considering the proposal, which had the potential to make Cape Barren Island’s electricity almost completely renewable. Other projects completed with government funding are the expansion of the King Island Wind Farm, which included two 850 kW wind turbines and vanadium redox battery technology. The King Island project will result in a 50 percent increase in the contribution of wind energy to the island’s electricity, and should provide greater system reliability. Cape Bruny, Maria Island, Deal Island and Maatsuyker Island also received funding through the RRPGP. The historic Cape Bruny Lighthouse off Tasmania’s south-east coast is also about to get the latest solar energy technology. The project involved the installation of two freestanding solar arrays with a total of 30 solar panels. The project at the light station to help power the two lighthouse keepers’ quarters, museum and workshop. The Maria Island project, which is expected to start later this year, will feature an additional 27 solar panels, a new battery set, and related system upgrades. This installation is estimated to save more than 13,000 liters of diesel a year. Homeowners can benefit from the updated energy policy as well. Green announced that AUD 1.81 million for the Residential Remote Area Power Supply program was secured for the next four years. People who own homes that are not connected to the main electricity grid and live a kilometer or more from the nearest connection point may be eligible for a 50 percent rebate on the costs of installing eligible renewable generation equipment. To date, 28 applications have been approved and more than AUD 200,000 is already committed to small-scale projects. There is about AUD 2.6 million not yet committed to projects, Green said, but the funding is likely to be spent on two remaining Parks and Wildlife sites, Deal and Maatsuyker, and improvement of the energy system on Cape Barren Island.

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