Meeting a quater of island demand

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Commissioning of three Nordex N29 250 kW wind turbines on Australia's King Island -- which lies between Tasmania and the Victoria coast -- is complete. The AUS$2.5 million wind plant will supply about 20% of the island's electricity. The three Nordex N29 250 kW wind turbines were due to be officially inaugurated last month. They were installed late last year at Huxley Hill, which has an average annual wind speed of 9.7 m/s at a height of 30 metres.

Robert Stewart of Tasmania's Hydro Electricity Commission (HEC) says the installation was notable because of its remote location. King Island lies 85 kilometres off the north west tip of Tasmania in the Bass Strait with access only by aircraft or ferry.

The HEC will be using a control system that will allow the wind turbines to produce about 25% of the 2700 kW peak grid load, while limiting wind power to 40% at times of low load demand. Higher penetration could be achieved, but not economically as the existing four 1200 kW diesel units would need to be replaced.

The wind plant is expected to save the island community about AUS$500,000 in annual diesel fuel costs as well as 2000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Stewart says the project has been designed to incorporate an additional two turbines as load growth on the island increases.

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