The Western Australian government is committing $62 million to Rottnest Island in the next State Budget 2022-23. Renewable energy will now provide 75% of the island’s energy demands, reducing the island’s dependency on fossil fuels.
This funding complements the state government’s prior $31 million commitment to restore Rottnest’s aging water supply and transportation network. The money will be used to double the current solar output capacity at a solar farm near the airport, as well as to replace the current wind turbine generator on Mount Herschel with 2 smaller, more modern units.
A utility-scale battery storage system will be erected, as well as the power distribution network. Network enhancements will help the island phase-out liquefied petroleum gas appliances and investigate renewable energy options for its fleet of vehicles.
Electricity supply for the Island was originally solely in the form of expensive and polluting diesel generators. A couple of wind turbines were then installed on Forbes Hill, but these experienced a number of problems and were removed in the early 1990’s. The Island was then back to relying totally on fossil fuels.
Green energy commitment
Increasing the island’s commitment to green energy is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 4,000 tonnes per year, according to the state government. The state government claims that its investment in water infrastructure is going to enhance the capacity of water output and decrease water loss on Rottnest Island, which is currently entirely reliant on desalinated water.
These infrastructural improvements, according to Premier Mark McGowan, come at a “vital time.” “The significant reduction in emissions will help the island run more effectively, which will benefit local businesses, operators, and visitors,” he added in a statement.
WA’s first pumped-hydro microgrid
The state government recently announced that the state’s first pumped-hydro microgrid would be built near Walpole. When renewables are plentiful and energy is cheap, the 1.5 megawatts pumped hydro complex will employ 2 farm dams to reserve 30-megawatt hours of energy, pumping water uphill from one dam to another.
During peak demand, the water will be sent downhill through a generator, which will generate energy and provide power to the town in the case of a power outage. This initiative, according to Energy Minister Bill Johnston, will be on a “lower size” but will serve as a “template for other locations in the state.”
“Power failures in the town can be disruptive, and Western Power is committed to enhancing reliability,” he said in a statement. Western Power and Power Research and Development will collaborate on a project that will be fully operational in the second half of 2023.