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Tue, 24/12/2013
Diesel-UPS: works with resistor to allow ZDO
Diesel-UPS: works with resistor to allow ZDO
The KIREIP team presenting donations to participants involved in the Smart Grid project
The KIREIP team presenting donations to participants involved in the Smart Grid project
Battery: physically complete September 2013
Battery: physically complete September 2013
KIREIP Smart Grid application for iPhones
KIREIP Smart Grid application for iPhones

December 2013 project update

Zero diesel operation (ZDO)

The KIREIP team is excited to report that since July we have been able to run your power station on renewable energy alone (no diesel) for 125 hours (equal to five days) using the existing wind turbines and our advanced enabling technology. This achievement saves lots of diesel and reduces carbon dioxide emissions, and it is the first time this has been achieved on this scale anywhere in the world, bringing King Island international recognition for its renewable technology. Read more >

Thanks to the community groups supporting the Smart Grid

KIREIP is grateful for the involvement of 22 King Island community groups that helped make the Smart Grid project possible through their involvement in our voluntary sign-up process. On 23 September 2013, community members joined us in a celebration of the Smart Grid. The KIREIP team was delighted to hand over donations to the community groups involved in the Smart Grid project, selected by participants in the Smart Grid project.

Those who joined us on the night described the technology as ‘fantastic’ and indicated their appreciation of ‘the community consultation and information sharing, plus the spirit of willingness from the community’, and their gratitude for the donations to community groups. KIREIP particularly thanks King Island locals Elly Smith and Rod Fisher who have supported us in making the Smart Grid project possible. They have both been wonderful and we very much appreciate their efforts.

KIREIP and its components: Update December 2013

Results of the 20 per cent biodiesel blend trial indicate that this fuel appears to be suitable for use in the power station. We have also completed a trial using 100 per cent biodiesel, using two different types of fuel. Unfortunately, this trial showed that not all sources of biodiesel are appropriate for long-term use. Careful management of the use of biodiesel will be necessary to ensure the engines are not damaged. Work is now proceeding to install equipment that would allow a 20 per cent biodiesel to be blended on site. This is useful now (using imported fuels), but will be very attractive if a local supply of suitable fuel (such as tallow-based biodiesel) becomes available on King Island in the future.

Energy storage
Australia’s largest battery has been installed inside a custom-built building at the power station and is now connected to the rest of the power system. We are testing the battery and anticipate that it will start automatic service early in the New Year The battery installation has already been used to extend Zero Diesel operation in low wind conditions, proving the concept of using a battery to increase renewable energy use.  The battery building was completed in July 2013 and involved a number of subcontractors based on the Island.
Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) class diesel engine
The diesel UPS (D-UPS) equipment was integral in achieving our zero diesel operation (ZDO) milestone in July this year.  In August and October, renewable energy accounted for more than half of the total energy supplied. This was a significant increase from before the installation of the D-UPS equipment, when renewable energy averaged 35 per cent of the supply. 

The D-UPS equipment has also helped maintain the stability of the system during variable wind. Since installation of D-UPS, the island has experienced significantly fewer short-term blackouts. Unfortunately, the long record of uninterrupted power was broken in recent weeks with an event related to battery commissioning, and a short-term engine problem. In both cases, the D-UPS systems were off-line, proving in their absence the reliability that they offer.

Wind farm expansion

The closure of the abattoir on King Island in August 2012 reduced energy demand on King Island by around one-third. This significant drop in demand means that the two additional wind turbines that were planned cannot be justified at present, so this part of KIREIP won’t be progressed in the short term.

Smart Grid

Thank you again to all Smart Grid participants! Although we are still rolling out equipment to some of you (thanks for your patience!), we are currently operating the system. We have already run many load-reduction events, when we remotely switch off your hot water for just a few seconds. As intended, you will not have noticed any change, because the ‘off’ time required is so short. The Smart Grid trial is continuing well, and new customers are being added regularly. In 2014, an iPhone application and web portal will be released, offering a great way to monitor how much energy you use and to find ways to reduce energy and save money! If you are not in the Smart Grid trial, you can still download the app and see what is happening in real time at the power station. We’ll have more information about this in the next community update.