Almost half the electricity needs of Rottnest Island, 15 kilometres off the coast of Freemantle in Western Australia (WA) are now being met by wind energy, thanks to a new A$3.8 million wind power system. The project is a long term solution to the island's essential services, says federal environment minister Ian Campbell. "Wind energy will provide nearly 40 per cent of Rottnest's electricity needs, which is a dramatic saving of about 430,000 litres of diesel each year and approximately 1100 tonnes of greenhouse gases," he explains. "This is the most modern wind/diesel system available. It significantly increases the percentage of usable wind energy being captured by the turbines, making it an outstanding winner for the environment." A joint venture between the federal government and the WA state government, it links a 600 kW turbine to two 320 watt diesel generators modified to work at lower electricity load levels. The project has been funded under the federal government's A$200 million Renewable Remote Power Generation Programme, which provides rebates for the installation of renewable generation equipment in remote parts of the country. Half of the funding under the program has been earmarked for WA.
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