The residents of King Island -- a remote island in the Bass Strait off Tasmania -- will get 50% of their energy from wind power following the official opening of the A$6.85 million Huxley Hill wind farm expansion. Developed by Hydro Tasmania, two 850 kW Vestas turbines now supplement the original 750 kW wind farm of three 250 kW Nordex turbines. In addition, an advanced energy storage system from Pinnacle VRB captures the energy generated by the turbines, while a sophisticated control system manages the operation of the island's wind-diesel power system. The Australian government's Renewable Remote Power Generation Program and the Renewable Energy Commercialisation Program contributed $3.24 million to the expansion, which will reduce expensive and dirty diesel consumption by over one million litres a year "in this sensitive and beautiful environment," commented federal environment minister David Kemp at the opening. A Vanadium Redox Battery system is a key factor in increasing the proportion of wind energy, added Hydro Tasmania's Peter Rae. "The battery smoothes out the variability of the wind by storing excess wind energy and releasing it back into the system in a controlled way," he said. Kemp stressed the pioneering aspects of the King Island power supply: "This project highlights some of the world-class renewable energy technologies being developed in Australia and is an excellent example of government and industry working together to jointly tackle climate change."
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