Flinders Ranges Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary Secures $1.3m for Renewable Energy Microgrid

Arkaroola is an inspiring destination for artists, aviators, astronomers, adventure bikers, birdwatchers, bushwalkers, four-wheel-drive adventurers and geologists. The Sanctuary showcases almost 2 billion years of geological history, excellent dark skies for astronomical observations and unique wilderness. Currently, Arkaroola is part of a World Heritage Bid, Dark Skies Accreditation and has ambitions to expand tourism operations. Being isolated from the electricity grid and situated 630km from Adelaide, the site currently relies on diesel generators and LPG gas for its electricity and heating supplies. The ongoing expense and difficulty of fuel transportation and the environmental impacts of consuming fossil fuel energy sources in a wilderness area make a strong case for local, onsite renewable energy generation even more advantageous.

To assist Arkaroola in its transition from ageing fossil fuel energy sources, improving self-sufficiency, and demonstrating renewable technologies, $1.3m in funding has been awarded by the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund. Arkarooka, situated in some of the harshest Australian conditions, makes it the ideal location to trial renewable energy technologies specifically designed for heat, dust, and remote operation. The Arkaroola Renewable Microgrid Project is led by experienced off-grid power specialists Apex Energy Australia, supporting partners CORENA, Ecotechsoft, and Glaciem. Many thanks go to CORENA’s Heather Smith and patron Monica Oliphant who’s drive and persistence over many years have helped to bring this project to realisation.

The available grant funding will provide for many valuable activities, demonstrations and improvements to the energy infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy modernisation at Arkaroola:

– Clarity of the current and future energy requirements of Arkaroola. Define the site loads, load flexibility, thermal storage capability, peak capacity requirements, daily and seasonal load patterns.
– Research of integrated renewable microgrid solutions, technologies and activities capable of meeting these requirements. Including thermal storage options, plant and equipment upgrades, automated energy management systems and user education.
– Delivery of a renewables-based microgrid system to reduce the site’s reliance on external energy sources. This system is envisaged to include solar PV energy generation, battery storage technology and intelligent energy management solutions.

The delivery of the project, including research, energy modelling, system simulation, equipment assembly and onsite installation, is planned to be spread over a continuous 24 month period. Renewable specialists, engineers and project management from Apex Energy and its partners will be engaged to provide the specific data outputs needed to develop an optimal renewables-based microgrid.

Apex Energy Australia Managing Director Paul Stallan says, “we are delighted to be involved in such a unique, innovative and rewarding project. Renewable energy technologies are the future of remote sites and communities, and ground-breaking projects like this are the key to a zero-emissions future and more resilient energy systems.

Apex Energy Australia is a 100% privately owned South Australian renewable electricity company based in Adelaide. Specialising in large- and small-scale solar energy and battery storage for a range of off-grid applications, Apex capabilities, experience, and resources are perfect for Arkaroola’s remote energy requirements. Apex Energy’s commitment to quality, safety and the environment are recognised with triple ISO certifications and accreditation with indigenous procurement organisation, Supply Nation.

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