Towards 100% renewable energy for Kangaroo Island

June 27, 2016, University of Technology, Sydney
Stokes Bay Kangaroo Island. Credit: Matthew Fuentes on Flickr

Can Australia's iconic Kangaroo Island be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy? This is the focus of a new study announced today by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in partnership with the Kangaroo Island Council.

Supported by $60,000 of from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Towards 100% Renewable Energy for Kangaroo Island research study will be managed by the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at UTS.  

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.

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

SAPN has identified that the preferred network option solution is to install a new $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. In line with SAPN's proposal deadline the study will be completed and released by mid July 2016.

Mr Chris Dunstan, Project Director at ISF said, "Powering a large community like Kangaroo Island with reliable and affordable renewable energy is a challenging task, but the early indications of the study are encouraging. 

"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." 

Chief Executive Officer of the Kangaroo Island Council, Mr Andrew Boardman welcomed the new investigation.

"Kangaroo Island has great wind, solar and biomass resources and a strong commitment to environmentally sustainable economic development. 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."  

Mayor Peter Clements said, "This is not something new for the Kangaroo Island Council – we have been discussing and working in the area of and a low carbon future since 2011 and it is now firmly in the minds of the community."

Explore further: New maps identify opportunities for renewable energy investment

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Can China keep it's climate promises?

March 26, 2019

China can easily meet its Paris climate pledge to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but sourcing 20 percent of its energy needs from renewables and nuclear power by that date may be considerably harder, researchers ...

What happened before the Big Bang?

March 26, 2019

A team of scientists has proposed a powerful new test for inflation, the theory that the universe dramatically expanded in size in a fleeting fraction of a second right after the Big Bang. Their goal is to give insight into ...

Cellular microRNA detection with miRacles

March 26, 2019

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding regulatory RNAs that can repress gene expression post-transcriptionally and are therefore increasingly used as biomarkers of disease. Detecting miRNAs can be arduous and expensive as ...

In the Tree of Life, youth has its advantages

March 26, 2019

It's a question that has captivated naturalists for centuries: Why have some groups of organisms enjoyed incredibly diversity—like fish, birds, insects—while others have contained only a few species—like humans.

39 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gkam
1.4 / 5 (9) Jun 27, 2016
What? No nukes?
WillieWard
1.4 / 5 (18) Jun 27, 2016
beautiful natural landscapes
to be replaced by bird-choppers
poor kangaroos
gkam
1.4 / 5 (9) Jun 27, 2016
"poor kangaroos"
------------------------

Nope. YOU are the loser, Willie.
WillieWard
1.5 / 5 (17) Jun 27, 2016
"poor kangaroos"
------------------------

Nope. YOU are the loser
and gskam is the big winner
https://en.wikipe...est_Liar
Eikka
5 / 5 (8) Jun 27, 2016
What? No nukes?


What, for 4,417 people?

The whole island could be powered - on average - by a single large marine diesel engine, like a MAN L27/38 which goes up to 10 MW in power.

Which is probably what they will end up using to back up the renewables because it would be too expensive to buy enough batteries to do it. Maybe they'll run it on palm oil - that would be "renewable".
Eikka
5 / 5 (8) Jun 27, 2016
Although...

https://en.wikipe...shiba_4S

The actual reactor would be located in a sealed, cylindrical vault 30 m (98 ft) underground, while the building above ground would be 22×16×11 m (72×52.5×36 ft) in size. This power plant is designed to provide 10 megawatts of electrical power

The 4S is a fast neutron sodium reactor. It uses neutron reflector panels around the perimeter to maintain neutron density. These reflector panels replace complicated control rods, yet keep the ability to shut down the nuclear reaction in case of an emergency.


It's a reactor design that is in a sense "subcritical" and cannot maintain a chain reaction without the reflectors, unlike conventional reactors which have to be held down by the control rods that are used to absorb the excess neutrons.
Eikka
5 / 5 (7) Jun 27, 2016
The 4S reactor was proposed to be built in Alaska for a public utility around 2010, but the project got stalled and Toshiba didn't pursue the approval of the reactor design because it would have cost them a ton of money.

With the basic 10 MW design, the reactor would need refueling every 30 years. It would have been more or less a closed unit that you drop in place, turn the key to start, and then run it until it runs out of fuel. Then you replace the whole module.

Because the core is cooled by liquid sodium instead of water, it also avoids the whole steam explosion and loss of coolant issue because the core is not under pressure. Water needs to be under immense pressure to remain liquid at 400-500 C whereas sodium does not.
Eikka
5 / 5 (7) Jun 27, 2016
For reference:

http://www.escosa...rds.aspx

There are currently about 3,300 electricity customers on Kangaroo Island, both residential and non-residential. Peak electricity demand on the Island is about 6 MW, while base-load demand is about 2.5 MW.


To satisfy just the baseload demand on average, you need about 10 MW nameplate capacity of wind power. Solar power would go in the ballpark of 20 MW due to the lower capacity factor.

All of that exceeds the local demand, which means they need the mainland power cable anyhow - or a huge pile of batteries. Question is, which is cheaper?
leetennant
4.8 / 5 (16) Jun 27, 2016
Why the hell would you use a high-polluting, non-renewable diesel engine if you could build a small wind or solar farm? Makes zero sense.
WillieWard
1.6 / 5 (19) Jun 27, 2016
Renewable's idolaters simply are not able to understand that batteries are quite expensive and alternatively for each megawatt of wind/solar it is needed around a megawatt of fossil fuels to compensate intermittency of their beloved eco-friendly bird-choppers/landscape-destroyers.
leetennant
4.8 / 5 (17) Jun 27, 2016
And 85 per cent of statistics on phys.org are completely made up
gkam
1 / 5 (8) Jun 28, 2016
You made that up.
antigoracle
1.8 / 5 (21) Jun 28, 2016
Hmm...maybe they can herd all the roos together and capture their hopping power.
WillieWard
1.7 / 5 (18) Jun 28, 2016
"Attempting to salvage energetically cheap power (e.g., wind) using energetically expensive batteries is wasteful from a societal perspective."
http://pubs.rsc.o...ee41973h
2¢/kwh almost for free, so add batteries and the cost skyrockets.
Now it can be understood why gskam is still on the grid, win-win situation with natural gas/fracking barons.
gkam
1 / 5 (8) Jun 28, 2016
"Hmm...maybe they can herd all the roos together and capture their hopping power."
---------------------------------------

Conservative "science".
gkam
1 / 5 (8) Jun 28, 2016
You are still losing, Willie, and we are still making our own clean PV power.

Do you drive a Diesel? You pollute everywhere you go.
Lord_jag
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 30, 2016
to be replaced by bird-choppers
poor kangaroos


Yeah... the little known and endangered flying kangaroo.

Will no one think of the poor flying kangaroo??
leetennant
4.5 / 5 (17) Jun 30, 2016
It ranks with Drop Bears and Hoop Snakes as one of Australia's worst wildlife menaces. Some days I can't function at all waiting for a flying kangaroo to drop from the sky. And hiding under the trees puts you in the path of the deadly Drop bear. Don't believe anybody else - this country is deadly.
WillieWard
1.8 / 5 (16) Jun 30, 2016
poor kangaroos
they will develop psychosomatic disorder caused by low level noise in the close vicinity of the turbines.
"Literature reviews and peer reviewed scientific articles confirm the symptoms associated with low frequency noise exposure include annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, fatigue, dizziness or vertigo, tinnitus, heart ailments anxiety, stitch and beating palpitation"
"..people exposed over time, to too-close wind turbines, are experiencing adverse health effects. These symptoms include sleep disturbance, headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability and fatigue, but also include a number of otologic symptoms including dizziness or vertigo, tinnitus and the sensation of aural pain or pressure"
http://www.windvi...turbines
http://westminste...2003.pdf
leetennant
4.7 / 5 (15) Jun 30, 2016
Yeah the nocebo effect is a bitch. I have a great placebo for you. It's $29.95. Send cash.
humy
4.5 / 5 (17) Jul 02, 2016
beautiful natural landscapes
to be replaced by bird-choppers
poor kangaroos

Just as has been consistently shown else where in the world, the wind turbines are unlikely to have much impact on bird populations. This is just the 'bird-chopper' myth speaking.
Don't know how you think kangaroos would be less well off here.
Beautiful natural landscapes being replaced by a great big filthy dirty coal power plant belching out vast plumes of thick smoke, if that is one of the alternatives, would, at least in my view, destroy its beauty far more than wind turbines.
Shootist
1.8 / 5 (20) Jul 02, 2016
No more laughing kookaburras. Sad, verra sad.
WillieWard
1.9 / 5 (17) Jul 02, 2016
Otto_Szucks
1.7 / 5 (17) Jul 02, 2016
@WillieWard
Thanks for all the jpg's and youtube. There has to be some way to prevent the killing of these magnificent birds. Have they considered and experimented with "sound waves" emitted by each turbine or group of turbines that would compel the birds to keep away? Sort of a "no-fly zone.
humy
4.7 / 5 (15) Jul 03, 2016
This is just the 'bird-chopper' myth speaking.
https://www.hcn.org/issues/47.18/green-energys-dirty-secret/cleanenergy-bell-deadeagle-jpg/image
https://stopthese...ats1.jpg

These are all just isolated incidences that would inevitably occasionally crop up.

The fact remains; there is NO evidence that turbines have a significant effect on bird populations.

Show me the evidence of significant effect on bird populations...
humy
4.8 / 5 (16) Jul 03, 2016
to be replaced by bird-choppers
poor kangaroos


Yeah... the little known and endangered flying kangaroo.

Will no one think of the poor flying kangaroo??


Perhaps he thinks the kangaroos can jump so incredibly high that the turbine blades would decapitate them?
WillieWard
1.5 / 5 (16) Jul 03, 2016
Just apply eco-friendly "sound waves" to exile birds and bats from their natural habitats and so there will be no slaughtered carcass to serve as evidence. With eco-friends like renewable, who needs enemies.
Otto_Szucks
1.7 / 5 (18) Jul 03, 2016
Birds and bats are very often adaptable to finding new territory for nesting. Bats most often go where there are plenty of insects and bats fly at night anyway. But it would be a good idea to provide sound waves that are irritating to both birds and bats for their survival. A bit of experimentation as to which sounds/frequency would be best suited to keep them away from the wind turbine blades.
My folks used to hear the sirens when they were kids that indicated that they should "take cover" under their desks if they were at school - back in the Cold War days. Basically the same principle.
humy
4.5 / 5 (17) Jul 04, 2016
Just apply eco-friendly "sound waves" to exile birds and bats from their natural habitats and so there will be no slaughtered carcass to serve as evidence. With eco-friends like renewable, who needs enemies.

Just apply eco-friendly "sound waves" to exile birds and bats from their natural habitats and so there will be no slaughtered carcass to serve as evidence. With eco-friends like coal and oil power creating bird-choking smog and greenhouse gasses with global warming that creates more hurricanes and droughts that devastate bird populations, who needs enemies.

ThunderDolts
Jul 04, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
DonCarloFantasia
Jul 04, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ThunderDolts
Jul 04, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Jul 04, 2016
Who are you?
Otto_Szucks
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2016
He's the local town drunk, obviously. You know the type.
humy
5 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2016
Just apply eco-friendly "sound waves" to exile birds and bats from their natural habitats and so there will be no slaughtered carcass to serve as evidence. With eco-friends like renewable, who needs enemies.

Just apply eco-friendly "sound waves" to exile birds and bats from their natural habitats and so there will be no slaughtered carcass to serve as evidence. With eco-friends like coal and oil power creating bird-choking smog and greenhouse gasses with global warming that creates more hurricanes and droughts that devastate bird populations, who needs enemies.



Oh, and to add to that, if you forget about the birds, coal power kills vastly more humans than wind power;

http://phys.org/n...-eu.html

"...Coal dust kills 23,000 per year in EU: .."
WillieWard
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2016
Oh, and to add to that, if you forget about the birds, coal power kills vastly more humans than wind power;

http://phys.org/n...-eu.html

"...Coal dust kills 23,000 per year in EU: .."
Don't forget that German pseudo-environmentalists have replaced the carbon-free nuclear power by coal to smooth fluctuations on the grid caused by their eco-friendly bird-choppers/landscape-destroyers.
gkam
1 / 5 (5) Jul 05, 2016
How many wind turbines and PV arrays could we have built for the money they will spend over the 40 or more years it will take to "clean up" or make "safer" the disasters at Fukushima?
Uncle Ira
5 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2016
How many wind turbines and PV arrays could we have built for the money they will spend over the 40 or more years it will take to "clean up" or make "safer" the disasters at Fukushima?


Is that a trick question? As best as I can tell it is 5,827 windmills and 17,985 solar panes. About half that if you include the batteries too. Is that close?
humy
1 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2016
Oh, and to add to that, if you forget about the birds, coal power kills vastly more humans than wind power;

http://phys.org/n...-eu.html

"...Coal dust kills 23,000 per year in EU: .."
Don't forget that German pseudo-environmentalists have replaced the carbon-free nuclear power by coal to smooth fluctuations on the grid caused by their eco-friendly bird-choppers/landscape-destroyers.


Which is all totally irrelevant to your previous point: coal power is still more dangerous to birds (not to mention far more importantly also to us humans ) than wind turbine power esp in the long run due to global warming.
If you are against wind power because it is bad for birds then why are you not also against coal power for being EVEN WORSE for birds than wind power!? -your 'argument' makes no sense.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.