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South Australia’s iconic Kangaroo Island, the site of Australia’s first free settled colony, could pioneer a new age of renewable energy, according to our new research.
The first hardy settlers in 1836 had to decide whether to go it alone with a settlement on the island or revert to the mainland. Today, the 4,400 or so people who call the island home face a similarly stark choice: energy independence, or continued reliance on the mainland.
On one hand, the ageing existing cable could simply be replaced, at a cost of between A$22 million and A$50 million. This is the ‘preferred network option’proposed by the local electricity distribution network, SA Power Networks (SAPN).
On the other hand, SAPN is also currently considering an alternative mix of local wind, solar and biomass generation, complemented by diesel generation, battery storage and demand management.