Green power tested on island
The Mercury, December 09, 2010
Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett and Greens leader and Alternative Energy Minister ...launched a $45 million renewable energy project on King Island yesterday.
The $30 million election promise from the Tasmanian Government, aided by $15 million from the Commonwealth, aims for renewable sources covering two thirds of the island's energy needs by late next year, reducing the reliance on diesel generators.
The experiment will also provide Hydro Tasmania with experience that may be used in other isolated small communities around the world without access to mainstream grid power.
Every home and business on King Island, including its two dominant industries, the abattoir and the cheese factory, will have smart-grid technology that offers information and choices about best and cheapest times to use electricity.
Hydro Tasmania has also formed a joint venture with technology company CBD Energy to test a new method of long-term storage of electricity.
Mr McKim sees the island of 1600 residents as the ideal laboratory, where renewable energy ideas and technology can be commercially tested on a small scale.
"This project will secure King Island's reputation as a clean and green fine food producer, attract further investment and lower the cost of living through reduced power prices," Mr McKim said.
The proposed system will use an energy storage unit from RAPS (details on the website are lacking, other than it comes as a container sized module) and Vanadium Redox Batteries.
Wind fails to turn a profit
The Mercury, December 01, 2010
A parliamentary committee scrutinising the operations of Hydro Tasmania was told yesterday that Hydro's wind-farm business, Roaring 40s, had run at a loss for the past five years because there had not been enough wind.
Hydro Tasmania's new chief executive Roy Adair said he hoped the wind-farm subsidiary would break even this year.
But he conceded one of the major problems had been that winds at its major wind farm at Woolnorth, on Tasmania's far northwest tip been "down against expectations".
Mr Adair said early evaluation of the Woolnorth wind-farm site in 2000 had predicted wind speeds, and therefore power production, would be 8 to 14 per cent higher than had been recorded.
He said with "more realistic estimates of generation productivity", profits could now be achieved.
Liberal energy spokesman Peter Gutwein said it was not good enough that Roaring 40s had never returned a profit for its owners, the Tasmanian public, and lost nearly $13 million last financial year.
Mr Gutwein said Hydro and the Government have some serious questions to answer after revelations more wind-power generation had been forecast than had resulted, costing Tasmanian taxpayers millions of dollars.
Greens energy spokesman Kim Booth agreed that it looked like Hydro Tasmania had "got its modelling wrong" on Woolnorth.