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Towards 100% renewable energy for Kangaroo Island

Kangaroos on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island’s electricity is currently supplied through a 15 km submarine cable from mainland South Australia. As this cable is approaching the end of its design life, SA Power Networks (SAPN), the business responsible for the local electricity distribution network, is investigating options for future electricity supply for the island.

The preferred network option is a replacement submarine cable at an estimated capital cost of $45 million (+10%, -50%). As required by the National Electricity Rules, SAPN is undertaking a Regulatory Investment Test – Distribution (RIT-D), including seeking proposals for non-network alternatives to a new cable.

An ISF research study,  Towards 100% Renewable Energy for Kangaroo Island, complements SAPN’s investigation by assessing options for reliable local power supply that would meet Kangaroo Island’s electricity needs from resources on the island, while delivering power reliability that is equivalent to, or better than would be provided by the new cable option. This local power supply would be largely based on renewable energy sources including wind, solar and potentially biomass, supported by batteries, demand management and back-up diesel generation. This study also considers how local supply options could allow Kangaroo Island to transition towards 100% renewable power.

This study finds that the overall direct and indirect costs of local electricity supply would be comparable to the cost of the new cable option. The choice of power supply is therefore likely to depend on other factors, such as the preferences of the local community, how costs, benefits and risks are shared, and the level of engagement and support from other key stakeholders including SAPN, governments and regulators.

The full version of ISF's research study is available below:

Dunstan C., Fattal A., James G., Teske S., 2016, Towards 100% Renewable Energy for Kangaroo Island. Prepared by the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney (with assistance from AECOM) for ARENA, Renewables SA and Kangaroo Island Council, September 2016.


For more information about this project, please see further media coverage of this project:

Kangaroo Island's choice: a new cable to the mainland, or renewable power, The Conversation, 16 September 2016

Kangaroo Is: 100% renewables cheaper than sticking with grid, RenewEconomy, 15 September 2016

Kangaroo Island could be powered by 100% renewable energy, 15 September 2016.

Can Kangaroo Island switch to 100% renewable energy?, 2SER: Sustainability, 31 July 2016

Cutting the cable: Kangaroo Island eyes switch to 100% renewable energy, The Guardian, 11 July 2016

Can Kangaroo Island be powered by 100% renewable energy?, RenewEconomy, 27 June 2016

Towards 100% renewable energy for Kangaroo Island: new study under way, 27 June 2016


To find out more about this project, please contact Chris Dunstan at chris.dunstan@uts.edu.au.