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Publications archive - International Activities and Commitments

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Renewable Energy in National Parks fact sheet cover

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Renewable Energy in National Parks

Queensland Government Environmental Protection Agency

PDF file

The Goal

To increase access to electricity and hot water in remote national parks in Australia using renewable energy.

The Challenge The Queensland Government placed an emphasis on the uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in their Queensland Energy Policy 2000. In addition, the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service (QPWS) Energy Manual proposed that “24 hour power should be available to all permanently occupied, off-grid Ranger centres”. As a result, energy practices were revised and a new path towards energy sustainability determined.

Some Parks and Wildlife remote ranger stations in Queensland (Australia) are not connected to the state electricity supply network and previously have only had intermittent electricity supplied by diesel generators. Providing electricity to remote locations in Australia creates unique challenges both in installation, maintenance and use.

This case study

The QPWS, which is part of the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), aimed to provide reliable, 24 hour electricity and hot water to 20 remote ranger stations in Queensland National Parks in an environmentally sustainable manner. Queensland has an extremely suitable climate for the effective use of renewable energy, in particular solar radiation (with an excess of 5.5 peak sunlight hours per day throughout the year).

Facilities requiring power at remote stations ranged in size, from single residences/workshops, through to major operations centres. Early solar photovoltaic Stand-alone Power Systems (SPS) were often sized to only meet existing energy demands and as a result did not meet the increasing needs of the remote ranger stations when new infrastructure was added. SPS’ needed to be improved in order to provide reliable renewable energy to the ranger stations.

How did we make it happen?

Funding was obtained through the Australian Government’s Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP) - Renewable Energy Diesel Replacement Scheme, to install larger solar photovoltaic / diesel hybrid SPS’ to remote ranger stations in Queensland, and upgrade some of the existing systems. An implementation strategy was developed to progressively install solar photovoltaic SPS’ to remote ranger stations in Queensland National Parks.

How far have we come?

Since 2000, 8 new 10 kW solar photovoltaic SPS’ have been installed at remote ranger stations, with a further 4 existing systems upgraded with new technology to meet increased energy demands. The installed solar photovoltaic SPS’ currently:

The program has successfully provided a clean and renewable power supply to remote and off-grid national parks that:

Additional new solar photovoltaic SPS’ are proposed for the Great Sandy National Park, which includes the Fraser Island World Heritage Area. This Island, the largest sand island in the world, has unique and sensitive wilderness areas, and is an ideal place to install and demonstrate renewable energy technologies.

What have we learnt?

This program has demonstrated that there are significant ongoing savings to be gained from installing renewable energy systems in remote areas, despite high initial capital cost. Specialised training and expertise are required in the installation and servicing of these systems, with ongoing skills training for users important in enabling the acceptance and adoption of these new technologies.

Solid policy implementation and structures, such as the Government subsidy scheme available for this project, are a major incentive in implementing remote renewable power systems.

For more information please visit http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/parks_and_forests/managing_parks_and_forests/renewable_energy/