SA’s Coober Pedy to shift from diesel to renewables in Hydro Tas project

Hydro Tasmania has revealed that technologies the utility developed for the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project will be used to help transform the remote, off-grid South Australian township of Coober Pedy into a majority renewable energy powered community.

Hydro Tasmania said on Monday it had been engaged by the Coober Pedy project developer Energy Developments Limited (EDL) to help shift the mining town from costly and polluting diesel power to a system powered mostly by solar and wind.

“We’re going to see world-leading Tasmanian innovation and technology used to transform a remote town in the Australian desert into a renewable energy oasis,” Hydro Tas CEO Steve Davy said in a statement on Monday.

“Only Hydro Tasmania has demonstrated that unique ability at megawatt scale, and Australia and the world are increasingly taking notice.”

Davy said Hydro Tas would employ local manufacturing suppliers to fulfil the Coober Pedy contract, which would inject several million dollars into the Tasmanian economy.

“With our off-grid successes on King Island and developments underway at ARENA supported projects on Flinders and Rottnest Islands, plus Coober Pedy to come, Tasmania’s future as a provider of these energy solutions to the global market is extremely bright,” he said.

Under the contract, Tas Hydro will supply EDL with its proprietary enabling technology, including control, load management and storage systems.

Once the technology is in place, the town of about 3500 people is expected to draw an average of 70 per cent of its energy from renewables – 100 per cent under favourable conditions.

The project has been in the works for a couple of years now, made possible by grant funding to EDL of up to $18.4 million by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

“Combining wind, solar, battery storage and smart control systems could provide a blueprint for off-grid communities to access cleaner and cheaper power and achieve energy independence by greatly reducing their reliance on trucked-in diesel,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd