AU: Kangaroo Island explores tidal, wave energy options

Kangaroo Island (Photo: flickr/NH53)

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Institute for Sustainable Futures, in partnership with Kangaroo Island Council, is undertaking a study on whether Kangaroo Island in South Australia can switch to 100% renewable energy.

The study ‘Towards 100% Renewable Energy for Kangaroo Island’ is supported by Au$60,000 of funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Acting ARENA CEO Ian Kay said the project represented a great opportunity to demonstrate the potential of renewables to generate clean, reliable and cost effective electricity for fringe-of-grid communities like Kangaroo Island.

The Island Island is currently powered by a 15 km long, 33,000 volt undersea electricity cable from the mainland which is approaching the end of its expected life, prompting South Australia Power Networks (SAPN) to investigate options to continue to provide reliable power to the island.

SAPN has identified that the preferred network option solution is to install a new Au$45 million cable connecting the island to the main electricity grid. As part of these investigations, SAPN has also issued an open two-month request for alternative non-network option proposals to replace the cable.

In response to this request, the ISF study will draw on the latest science to assess the viability of clean renewable energy technology being used to generate power for Kangaroo Island, instead of the proposed new grid-connected cable, ISF informed.

“100% renewable is a very real, very clear target … Technology is not the issue. We have got solar, wind, wave, tidal, biomass. There is nothing we can’t really do,” Andrew Boardman, Chief Executive Officer of the Kangaroo Island Council, told The Guardian. “Reliable, renewable energy should be the cornerstone of this development.  It is crucial that we invest the time to investigate properly our clean energy options.”

Chris Dunstan, Project Director at ISF, added: “If we can show that renewable energy is technically and economically viable for Kangaroo Island, it would be a powerful precedent for communities around Australia who are seeking to develop their own renewable energy resources.”

In line with SAPN’s proposal deadline the study will be completed and released by mid July 2016, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures informed.

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