UC Experts Looking To Help Find Cheaper Electricity System
UC Experts Looking To Help Find Cheaper Electricity
System For Stewart Island
March 18, 2013
University of Canterbury (UC) energy and natural resources engineers are assisting the Stewart Island community in selecting a renewable electricity system to replace their current expensive, fossil-fuel-based system.
Stewart Islanders rely entirely on diesel generators and pay about 62c per kWh, roughly 3 times the price charged in the rest of New Zealand.
UC energy engineer Dr Ian Mason is modelling various combinations of wind, solar, hydro and diesel generation to explore best options for the island. He is also managing the UC involvement on behalf of UC electrical engineering graduate and overall project manager Robin McNeill of Venture Southland.
Natural resources engineer Dr Brian Caruso is conducting a long-term catchment study to determine the potential for small hydro generation.
This is also interesting from a policy point of view since the catchment is entirely within a national park,’’ Dr Mason said.
``A system comprising some or all of wind, solar and hydro but retaining the diesel generators for back-up duties makes sense in the short term. In order to realise a 100 percent renewable system, pumped-hydro, where surplus wind or solar electricity is used to pump water into a reservoir from which it can be used later for peak power generation, could be employed.”
Stewart Islanders are hoping renewable energy can put an end to high power prices. The island’s 440 network-connected households and businesses pay about three times what most New Zealanders pay.
The Stewart Island Electricity Supply Authority is owned by Southland District Council and operates a fleet of five diesel generators.
UC has been commissioned to run
a 12-month monitoring project of the hydro resource and is
modelling the viability of solar.