Tech boost for remote renewable energy

WA company Amadeus Petroleum NL, through its 100 per cent owned subsidiary Virtual Control Systems Ltd, is helping remote indigenous communities through a new infrastructure support concept to ensure continuous power for outback towns using renewable energy.

Honeywell Ltd has designed an Internet-based control room and its monitoring and control functionality, for VCS. It has the potential to ensure continuous power for outback communities using sustainable renewable energy sources and decrease the reliance on backup diesel generators.

The $28 million program will be managed jointly by the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) and the Centre for Appropriate Technologies (CAT).

ACRE, established in 1996, receives core funding from the Federal Government through the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Program.

CRCs bring together industry, government and universities to work together to find cooperative solutions to practical problems, to develop new technologies and to bring them with industry into the marketplace.

ACRE managing director Dr Frank Reid said the project was of national significance as it could result in reliable renewable energy to people in remote communities and provide a highly adaptable product for export overseas.

“The VCS technology is proven and currently being installed for use by Worsley Alumina and Amadeus,” Dr Reid said.

“Our ACRE application project will confirm that VCS’s leading edge technology works in remote and rural applications.”

Funding has been made available for an initial two systems by ACRE, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO), State Governments (NT, SA, WA, QLD), the Centre of Appropriate Technologies (CAT), Amadeus Petroleum NL (Amadeus) and Honeywell Ltd.

Amadeus executive director of finance, Anthony Short said remote renewable energy power systems would become more reliable and functional due to VCS’s constant real-time monitoring, which will enable repairs and maintenance to occur in a timely manner.

“Our system’s Internet capability will save communications costs, provide immediate relevant information and eliminate costs associated with unscheduled maintenance visits,” Mr Short told Business News.

The project will take six months

to complete, which includes an implementation phase and a

monitoring and data provision

phase of three months each.

The trial will look at ways of transmitting data back to the virtual control systems from two remote sites in WA and the Northern Territory.

Dr Reid said there were enormous opportunities for VCS technology to be applied in remote and rural communities in Australia and around the world.

“This project is a world first in the delivery of reliable renewable energy power,” he said.

“The satellite and Internet capabilities in remote areas will provide additional benefits such as television, education, tele-medicine and other services to be offered to these communities.”

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