Contracts signed and work to start on Flinders Island Hybrid Energy Hub

Hydro Tasmania has signed contracts totalling nearly $4 million to allow work to begin on a major renewable energy project on Flinders Island.

The Flinders Island Hybrid Energy Hub will significantly increase renewable energy use on the island and reduce the use and importation of diesel.

“Like many remote or island locations, Flinders Island is currently heavily reliant on expensive diesel fuel to supply its electricity needs,” said Project Director Simon Gamble.

“Diesel fuel remains the single largest expense in these remote energy systems and using renewable energy makes good economic sense.”

The $12.88 million Flinders Island project will be capable of displacing up to 60% of the annual diesel fuel used on the island to generate electricity within two years.

Development of the Hybrid Energy Hub follows the success of the King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project (KIREIP), which has seen King Island’s energy needs supplied solely from renewables when conditions allow, a world-leading breakthrough.

The Flinders Island project will use similar technology to that on King Island. It involves integration of wind and solar generation with the existing diesel power station, and installation of enabling technology, such as flywheel and battery energy storage.

“This combination of technologies means we will be able to securely and reliably generate power for Flinders Island, even during lulls in the wind or when the sun isn’t shining,” Mr Gamble said.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is supporting the project with $5.5 million funding. ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project would provide the Flinders Island community with improved energy security and would enhance skills and job opportunities in the Tasmanian region.

“Australia is a large country with many off-grid communities and industries facing energy supply challenges similar to Flinders Island. ARENA is committed to working with Hydro Tasmania to share the learning and expertise gained,” Mr Frischknecht said.

Hydro Tasmania has worked with Tasmanian manufacturers to develop a series of modular units to house and ship the enabling technologies essential to the energy solution. This innovation will be developed and tested for the first time through the Flinders Island Hybrid Energy Hub project.

“These modular enabling units will provide a lower-cost and scalable solution that will allow easy and rapid transport and installation for renewable energy projects, and which could also serve temporary uses such as in disaster relief or in the mining industry,” said Mr Gamble.

“Fabrication and factory testing of equipment takes place off-site, ensuring a speedy roll-out at the final location, reducing the risk, cost and duration of construction.”

Contracts awarded this week cover many of the key components of the project.

Contract details:

  • RF Industries will undertake solar PV design and construction.
  • Toshiba will supply the battery cells, housed in a customised container system.
  • Hitzinger will supply the Diesel Uninterruptible Power Supply (DUPS) unit. This is the same equipment used for Hydro Tasmania’s highly successful KIREIP.
  • Southern Prospect will manufacture and install custom-designed shipping containers to house the DUPS unit. Factory Acceptance Testing of the containerised D-UPS will occur at Southern Prospect’s factory in Wynyard, before shipping to site.
  • Doric Engineering will manufacture customised shipping containers to house control hardware, low voltage switchgear and power electronic cabinets of the dynamic resistor.
  • Bartech will manufacture switchgear in specialised containers.

The project is due for completion in November 2016.

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