14 July 2014 – A town near Coober Pedy in South Australia will soon have 70 per cent of its energy generated by wind and solar power, thanks to Australian Renewable Energy Agency investment of 18.5 million support towards a hybrid renewable energy project.

Energy Developments Limited is proposing to integrate up to 2 MW of solar photo voltaics, 3 MW of wind generation and enabling technologies into its existing 3.9 MW diesel power station.  The project will also include short-term energy storage, fast start diesel engines and an advanced control system to enable smooth operation.

“This ambitious project may demonstrate a combined approach for powering off-grid Australian communities that currently rely solely on expensive trucked-in diesel,” ARENA chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht said.

“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 said.

“EDL has identified a long-term pathway to commercialisation by demonstrating the potential to progressively deploy renewable solutions at off-grid locations as technology costs reduce and fossil fuel costs increase.

“Australia’s energy demand is growing off the grid and this landmark project will show how high penetration renewable energy projects can deliver safe, reliable power to off-grid communities.”

EDL intends to restructure its existing power purchasing agreement with the District Council of Coober Pedy with a new 20-year agreement, which will provide a long-term customer base to support the project.

The project is now subject to final investment decision by EDL, along with approvals and agreements. If approved, completion is anticipated in mid-2017.