Tasmania’s King Island will boost its renewable energy supply – and further slash its use of diesel fuel – with the addition of a new, 1.5MW solar farm to the island’s power mix.
Hydro Tasmania said on the weekend that the $4.5 million solar farm had been approved for development as the latest addition to the King Island Renewable Integration Project (KIREIP).
KIREIP is a hybrid, off-grid power system co-developed by Hydro Tasmania and its subsidiary Entura – and backed by federal government funding from Arena – that has so far slashed the Island’s annual diesel consumption by 65 per cent.
The power system currently combines 2.5MW of wind generation, 470kW of solar PV, two 1 MVA flywheels, a 3 MW/1.5 MWh battery, along with a 1.5 MW dynamic resistor and an aggregated fast customer demand response system, managed through an advanced hybrid control system.
The system was designed to supply around 65% of the Island’s power supply from renewables, but as you can see in the images below – screenshots of the KIREIP’s real time energy dashboard taken at 11.35am and then 11.40am – this varies with the availability of each resource.
The system can achieve a 100% renewable supply and, as One Step Off The Grid has reported, did so for 33 hours straight in late 2015, at that time becoming the first megawatt class off-grid system with this capability in the world.
As the live dashboard shows, solar currently contributes a relatively small amount to the mix, so the addition of a further 1.5MW of generating capacity stands to slash the island’s use of diesel further – particularly on low-wind days. Hydro Tasmania says it will boost the overall average renewables contribution by 7-10 per cent.
“It’s part of our ongoing commitment to reduce our emissions on King Island, this allows us to leverage off the work done in developing our high-penetration renewable system,” said Simon van der Aa, a specialist electrical engineer with the state-owned Hydro Tasmania.
The solar project will be located on Hydro Tasmania land and will form part of the existing King Island Renewable Integration Project (KIREIP), a world-leading, hybrid, off-grid power system. It is expected to remain in operation for at least 20 years.
Construction on the King Island solar farm is expected to begin in early 2023 and be completed by the end of May, Hydro Tas says.