Recently on national television the owner of Tesla Corporation, Elon Musk, made a very profound statement saying that eventually all power generated on earth will be renewable because we don’t have any choice.
He was referring to the finite resources we have for conventional power generation such as coal, without mentioning the dire consequences of fossil fuels creating emissions and causing climate change.
It is interesting that as the proliferation of renewable energy including solar continues, the cost of renewable energy, which was once an expensive option, is competing much better with conventional power generation costs.
This does not mean that we can do without the conventional power generation immediately, and the orderly transition to renewables is more important than an ideological shift.
There has been some talk on KI about Council’s involvement in developing a community-based power generation system using biomass, where plantation timber chips are used to create synthetic gas to drive turbines which create power and fresh water.
This initiative is getting closer to moving into a full feasibility study and if successful will ensure that KI contributes a reliable and healthy form of power and water to island businesses and residents.
The biomass power plant would enable us to export energy to the mainland through the new undersea power cable by ramping up the turbines almost instantaneously, which is also consistent with the state government’s plans to introduce similar non-renewable natural gas powered turbines to the grid in SA.
The Federal Government provides funding to many of these initiatives through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Rebekha Sharkie MP is assisting Council.
The intention is to provide lower cost and more reliable energy to the island without sacrificing the need for power through the current cable to the mainland.
Islanders are among the highest users of solar power per capita in Australia and still installing solar at a rapid rate.
It is critical that purchasers of solar systems from off-island be thoroughly scrutinised as my office receives many complaints of potential malpractice some of which I am currently investigating. Thankfully, local suppliers do not fit into this category.