Sustainable future for Matiu/Somes Island
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionWellington’s Matiu/Somes Island is a step closer to becoming a showcase for sustainable energy, with tenders being invited this week for the supply and installation of a renewable energy system on the island.
Date: 08 July 2010 Source: The Department of Conservation, Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Industrial Research Limited (IRL)
Wellington’s Matiu/Somes Island is a step closer to becoming a showcase for sustainable energy, with tenders being invited this week for the supply and installation of a renewable energy system on the island.
The project, which will see diesel generation replaced with a system harnessing energy from wind, water and the sun, is a partnership between the Department of Conservation, the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Industrial Research Limited (IRL). It is being led by the Harbour Islands Kaitiaki (governance) Board.
“This project will significantly reduce our diesel requirements and corresponding costs, freeing up resources for delivering more conservation work on the island" DOC’s Poneke Area manager Rob Stone said.
“We’re really pleased to be working with the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust as the island owners, and EECA and IRL to get a renewable energy system in place.
“Matiu/Somes Island is an ideal showcase for sustainable energy in the middle of Wellington Harbour as it receives around 20,000 visitors a year. ”
“It is important for the protection and well-being of the island to install a sustainable energy system that is long lasting and effective," said Mark Te One, chairman of the Harbour Islands Kaitiaki Board.
“As the owners and joint managers of the harbour islands, we are obligated as mana whenua and members of the community to achieve the best outcomes,” he said.
Mr Stone said that a renewable power supply, which could include solar panels and a small wind turbine, would complement the measures already underway to reduce energy requirements on the island (such as installing new efficient fridges, efficient lighting, insulation and solar hot water heaters) and was part of DOC’s wider strategy to reduce its reliance on diesel generation.
EECA’s spokesperson Joseph Mayhew said that in situations where electricity generation was primarily from diesel, renewable energy often proved a much more cost effective alternative, as well as delivering environmental benefits.
“You would expect a renewable energy system for the island to save around 5000 litres of diesel, 14,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide, and over $15,000 each year. This is a win-win arrangement that will provide cheaper electricity for DOC and have tremendous environmental benefits.”
The project will also include groundbreaking technology designed by IRL in the form of a distributed hydrogen energy system dubbed ‘hylink’. The system works by capturing renewable energy from a wind turbine or photovoltaic solar cells. This energy then powers an electrolyser that extracts hydrogen from water by separating it into hydrogen and oxygen molecules.
The low pressure hydrogen fuel gas is delivered by pipeline to a fuel cell to produce electricity. As well as transporting the energy, the system also stores hydrogen in the pipeline so that a supply of energy can be maintained even when the wind is not blowing.
IRL distributed and hydrogen energy team manager Alister Gardiner said technological advances are making renewable energy more attractive.
“Being energy efficient and investing in renewable energy is better for the environment we live in and good value for money as the system pays for itself over time.”
Mr Gardiner said the energy efficient and renewable energy systems to be showcased on Matiu/Somes Island are a good example of an energy solution for sites that are not connected to the electricity grid.
It is expected that the work will commence in July, and be completed later in the year. The island will continue to be open to visitors for the duration of the project.
Water and sewage systems on the island will be upgraded at a later stage of the overall energy project.
Supplying energy to off grid sites represents one of DOC’s greatest resource efficiency challenges as they rely almost exclusively on diesel generators, an expensive way of generating electricity. DOC is tackling this issue by installing renewable energy systems and energy efficiency measures on up to 13 islands.
Department of Conservation
Rob Stone, Ph: +64 4 470 8415
Harbour Islands Kaitiaki Board
Mark Te One, Ph: +64 4 472 3872
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority
Jane O’Loughlin, Ph: +64 4 470 2421
Industrial Research Limited
Alister Gardiner, Ph: +64 3 358 6809