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SA Power Networks is seeking non-traditional electricity sources to power Kangaroo Island (SA) after the 15km undersea cable that supplies electricity reaches the end of its working life.

Kangaroo Island’s current 33,000 Volt undersea cable runs under Investigator Strait and is backed up by diesel generation at Kingscote.

SA Power is now turning to renewables and the Australian Energy Regulator has agreed to fund $45million for the project.

SA Power Networks spokesman, Paul Roberts said, “While we have proposed to replace the cable, we are required to undertake a regulator-driven process to review potential alternatives. This is aimed at testing whether there are cost efficient alternatives to network investment.

“We will assess proposals identified through the process against the proposed new cable installation to determine the most beneficial strategy.

“A key driver in selecting the most appropriate solution is an economic assessment based on the life of the asset; its long term costs, including upfront capital and operating/maintenance costs; and the ability to deliver high levels of reliability for an extended period.

“Any new local embedded generation option, by itself or in combination with other options, will be required to operate 24/7 and be capable of meeting all of Kangaroo Island’s needs for the next 25 years,” Mr Roberts said.

“Any solution will have to be ready and able to support total demand on the Island now and be able to meet future anticipated demand growth and be able to pick up the slack when the current ageing undersea cable ultimately fails.”

Options must be able to supply peak electricity demand on Kangaroo Island with adequate redundancy; frequency and voltage control and be expandable to cater for any unforeseen customer demand increases.

“We’ve already got a large number of parties who have registered their interest to submit proposals. We expect a non-network solution may involve some combination of solar, battery storage, wind power and backup diesel generation,” Mr Roberts said.

“While acknowledging the challenge for proponents, it will be exciting to see whether there is a viable proposal that delivers better value for KI customers than the network solution.”

Formal submissions are required from proponents by mid-July 2016 with a view to a final decision being made by the end of 2016.

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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