Renewables boost to power WA’s Rottnest Island

Aerial drone photo of Rottnest Island, Geordie Bay. Sunset in the background as the private boats park up for the night in the secluded and remote bay
Geordie Bay, Rottnest Island (Image: Shutterstock)

Western Australia’s Rottnest Island will have 75 per cent of its energy needs powered by renewables under a new $62 million upgrade.

A $62 million commitment from the upcoming 2022-23 State Budget will shore up Rottnest Island’s energy and water assets to enhance the holiday destination’s infrastructure and support expanded growth.

The significant investment is in addition to the state government’s previous allocation of $31 million towards upgrades to Rottnest’s ageing water supply and road network.

The major funding boost will see renewables power 75 per cent of the island’s energy needs.

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Eco-tourism is a growing sector, with more travellers wanting holiday destinations that place a premium on being environmentally sustainable. Rottnest Island is a Class A nature reserve with strong eco-credentials that align with this increase in renewable energy production.

Funding of renewable energy will significantly reduce the island’s reliance on fossil fuels by:

  • doubling the current solar generation capacity at the existing solar farm near the airport;
  • replacing the existing wind turbine generator on Mt Herschel with two smaller contemporary units, increasing practical capacity and efficiency;
  • installing a utility-scale battery storage solution; and
  • upgrading the power distribution network.

An estimated 4,000 tonnes of carbon emissions will be abated each year on Rottnest Island through an increased commitment to green energy.

Network upgrades will also facilitate the phasing out of LPG appliances on the island and consideration of renewable sources of power for the island’s fleet of vehicles.

Rottnest Island is already fully dependent on desalinated water and investment in power generation will mean future water production will rely almost entirely on renewable sources of energy.

The McGowan Government’s investment in water infrastructure will increase the capacity of water production, reduce water loss through leaks and improve the island’s firefighting capability.

Rottnest Island has continued to benefit from the renewal of key infrastructure and development of visitor amenities in the past year, including a $4.5 million revitalisation of the Settlement Mall and significant improvements to one of the island’s premier beaches at The Basin totalling $2.2 million.

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Premier Mark McGowan said, “Powering Rottnest Island with 75 per cent renewable energy will be a major achievement and I’m pleased we have the financial capacity to provide this investment now.

“The major reduction in emissions is a huge boost to efficiently running the island and in turn, benefits local businesses, operators and visitors.

“These infrastructure enhancements come at a critical time where we expect to see future growth on the island as WA reconnects with the world.

“We are making these improvements in a way that is sustainable for future generations.”

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