Why is Coober Pedy at the forefront of renewable energy?
Efforts are underway all over Australia to increase the use of renewables and one place that could some become a leader is Coober Pedy in South Australia.
That's because the area has been given $18.5 million of funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to set up a renewable energy diesel hybrid project.
Energy Developments Limited (EDL) will be behind the project, which aims to bring wind, solar and diesel together to meet 70 per cent of the town's energy needs.
What renewable technology will be installed?
EDL is hoping to introduce 2 MW of solar power to Coober Pedy, as well as 3 MW of wind energy generation. This will be in addition to the 3.9 MW diesel power station that already serves the town.
The company also plans to show just how reliable off-grid systems can really be and how effective they are at delivering a safe and reliable power supply to communities.
It identified how many regions, such as Coober Pedy, are currently relying on "expensive trucked-in diesel", so it's becoming more crucial to go in search of alternative options.
This could eventually lead to reduced electricity prices, something that homeowners in this part of South Australia and other parts of the country are sure to welcome.
EDL has acknowledged this will be a short-term solution for energy storage, but who knows, it could provide a springboard for other projects further down the line.
How effective will the technologies be?
These off-grid renewable technologies have been subjected to extensive testing to make sure they are going to be fit for purpose.
Chief Executive Officer of ARENA Ivor Frischknecht explained it won't be long before the technology starts to prove their worth and drive down energy prices.
"These enabling technologies have been successfully tried and tested by Hydro Tasmania at the ARENA-supported King Island Renewable Energy Integration Project and this represents an opportunity to see them evolve for use on the mainland and in an outback community that has few alternative energy options," he commented.
EDL has also come up with a long-term strategy for the technologies, which will make sure they can be deployed on a much wider scope and provide a long-term customer base.
It's already made changes to its power purchasing agreement with the local council and introduced a 20-year strategy to ensure renewables continue to remain at the forefront.
Posted by Liam Tunney