Weaning Off Diesel with Wind Energy

Rottnest Island in Australia began work on a 600 kW wind project in January of 2003, and the turbine system has finally come on-line. Nearly 40 percent of Rottnest Island’s electricity needs will come from the $3.8 million wind turbine system.

“Wind energy will provide nearly 40 percent of Rottnest’s electricity needs, which is a dramatic saving of about 430,000 liters of diesel each year and approximately 1100 tons of greenhouse gases,” Minister for the Environment and Heritage Senator Ian Campbell said. The joint Australian and WA governments project links a 600 kW turbine to two 320 watt diesel generators modified to work at lower electricity load levels, and a sophisticated control system. Rottnest Island Wind Project is government subsidized, and was approved for installation by the West Australian division of the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP). Nearly AUD 100 million was designated by the RRPGP for projects in Western Australia. The Rottnest project is similar to a number of other wind, diesel projects which the Government has supported in (Western Australia), such as the recent installations at Hopetoun and Bremer Bay. “Benefits for people in remote locations include greater access to electricity, reduction in noise and air pollution, and reduction in the costs of transporting fuel over long distances,” Campbell said. The Program is managed by the Australian Greenhouse Office, within the Department of Environment and Heritage, and is delivered by State and Territory governments.
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