King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project

Client: Hydro Tasmania
Location: King Island, Australia
Date: 2007–2012

Powering an isolated community through renewables for reliable electricity at lower cost and with lower emissions.

Background

Worldwide, island and off-grid communities are attempting to reduce their reliance on costly and emissions-intensive diesel fuel. Until now, the operation of diesel engines has always been required to provide backup to off-grid renewable systems to maintain reliability and security of power supply under highly variable wind and solar conditions.

Until the late 1990s, King Island was powered solely by diesel generation. Since then, the generation mix has incorporated wind, solar and other world-leading technologies to reduce dependence on diesel and achieve a reliable, integrated hybrid renewable energy power system able to power the island entirely from renewables when conditions allow. This project was an initiative of Hydro Tasmania with funding assistance provided by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Solution

After the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP), the island’s advanced hybrid power system integrates renewable and innovative enabling technologies, including 2.45 MW of wind generation and 95 kW of solar PV, two 1 MVA flywheels, a 3 MW/1.5 MWh battery, a 1.5 MW dynamic resistor and an aggregated fast customer demand response system, all managed through an advanced hybrid control system.  

The transition from diesel power to 100% renewables, and back again when and as required, is entirely automated and allows the station to achieve significant diesel savings while operating unstaffed. The integrated solution ensures that rapid and unpredictable changes in sun or wind conditions do not interrupt power supply.

The project also involved investigation of operation of standard and specifically modified megawatt-class diesel generators at levels below traditional limits and investigated the use of an onsite mineral diesel/bio-diesel blending plant.

Entura worked closely with Hydro Tasmania to deliver specialist consulting services including electrical and control engineering, development of a smart grid, real-time dashboards and phone apps.

A number of innovative enabling technologies were developed on the project including an advanced hybrid control system and a rapid (subsecond round trip) smart grid.

The real-time performance of the system can be viewed online on the KIREIP website and via the KIREIP iOS app.

Outcome

The award-winning and world-leading hybrid power system on King Island was the first to achieve extended continuous periods of zero-diesel or 100% renewable energy penetration at a megawatt scale when conditions allow, successfully overcoming daily peaks in demand.

The system provides stable and reliable power around the clock and is able to meet the needs of an entire community, including industrial customers, safely across an extensive distribution network through provision of sufficient fault current. It is also significantly reducing the use of diesel fuel by 65% per annum, resulting in lower emissions and cost savings.

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