MOUNT OWEN, Tasmania — Transmission services provider Broadcast Australia has refitted a remote transmission site to be powered primarily by renewable energy.
The Mount Owen site, serving Queenstown and Zeehan, Tasmania, will use site-generated wind and solar power to meet fully the site’s 8 kW power needs 80 percent to 90 percent of the time. The site broadcasts national and commercial analog and digital radio and television services and supports critical radio communications for local emergency services.
According to Broadcast Australia Energy Systems Engineer Gary Cafe, the power demands for digital television and other new services were starting to exceed the capacity of the existing mains power feed. Given the remoteness of the facility, and the presence of strong prevailing south-westerly winds, Mount Owen was a good candidate for onsite renewable energy generation, especially compared to the cost of upgrading the mains power feeder lines.
Broadcast Australia is looking to generate all of the power needed for its Mount Owen transmission facility on site. A combination of wind and solar power is expected to meet the 8 kW power needs at the site reliably 80 percent to 90 percent of the time. A Proven 15 constant-output horizontal-axis wind turbine from Proven Energy was been erected on a 15-meter-high mast. The turbine is rated for maximum power generation of 15 kW for a windspeed of 12 m/s (43 km/h). The wind turbine is supplemented by 24 mono-crystalline Conergy PowerPlus 220M solar photovoltaic panels, rated at 5 kW peak generating capacity. The panels cover about 36 square meters of space.
Excess generated electricity charges two banks of 2,900 A·h batteries, which supplement the power supply when the combination of wind- and solar-generated power drops below the site demand of 8 kW. The batteries alone can provide full power autonomy for the site for two days.
During periods of limited onsite wind- or solar-generation, the balance of the site load can additionally be met from mains power, or from an onsite 31 kVA diesel generator.
The generator is set up to start automatically, but it can be activated remotely from the BA Network Operations Centre. With its 1,000-liter fuel reserve, the generator alone can provide the site power for 19 days.
With the infrastructure successfully installed, the Mount Owen transmission site is now able to reliably provide most of its power demands from renewable sources. “This will potentially save up to 60 MW·h of conventional power each year from this site alone,” Cafe said.