Why Diesel Hybrid Project For Coober Pedy Will Go A Long Way

The newest renewable energy project goes to Coober Pedy using solar and wind powers

According to the Clean Energy Council (CEC), this project will be able to generate 70% of electricity from renewable energy sources. The project, developed by EDL or Energy Departments Limited, will provide an additional two megawatts  (MW) and a 3MW of solar power and wind power, respectively, to the 3.9MW-power station already existing in the northern town of South Australia.

Diesel-Hybrid Project Garners Support

In July this year, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, or ARENA, announced support for the diesel hybrid project, worth US$18.5 million, to gradually wean away those off-grid communities in the outback and mainland from relying solely on and to become independent from expensive trucked-in fuel energy. The project includes technologies utilising short-term storage for energy, advanced control systems, and fast-start engines.

The ARENA-supported diesel-hybrid project, tested by Hydro Tasmania, is an opportunity for the evolution of usage on the Australian mainland and the outback community that have limited options for alternative energy solutions. These kind of diesel hybrid technologies are expected to significantly reduce energy consumption costs including electricity, gas, and oil over of time and increase opportunities for deployment in the future without requiring subsidies.

In 2013, the ARENA – through the Regional Australian Renewables Program — has had over 30 applications from numerous mining companies seeking assistance with projects concerning development of renewable energy. Mining companies are aware that energy from diesel hybrid generators have lower costs than conventional energy generation.  They also know that investment in such diesel hybrid projects are long-term reductions in a company’s overall energy costs.

According to Kane Thornton, acting CEO for the CEC, reducing the consumption of diesel is “a big win” for these communities because, in using energy from renewable sources, there is also a significant reduction in the cost amount of its transport to remote locations. Thornton added that it will also confirm to mining operations in far-flung areas and other towns in the outback that renewable sources of energy are not only cost-efficient but dependable.

These hybrid projects that use renewable diesel make more sense with the rising cost of fossil fuels.  Although Hydro Tasmania, a testing partner in the project known as the King Island Renewable Energy Integration, uses practically the same similar systems, this is actually the first time ever that this particular system is being utilised as a means of energy source in Australia’s outback areas.

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Mid-2017 is the project’s expected completion for the Australian mining town of Coober Pedy. Hybrid systems, such as this project, are comprised of power generators that are operated by large battery banks connected to a Direct Current (DC) system. It can run on wind and solar energy, however, and diesel fuel when those two renewable sources are unavailable.

Although the ARENA is threatened with dissolution by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s administration, which has already made an attempt to slash funding in May’s budget, it assures the public that removal of future government funding will not affect the 181 projects – including that of Coober Pedy – with existing funding agreements already in place.

The Author

Motivated and dynamic journalist with a strong interest in sustainable solar powered technology. My work in journalism and new media has provided me with a medium to produce content concerning emerging renewable energy.

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