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Why are remote Western Australians installing renewable energy technologies in stand-alone power supply systems?

Elsevier BV
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  • Ecology


As people living in remote areas rely on SPS systems for their electricity and water needs, they hold a practical and non-idealistic perspective towards using renewable energy technologies. This research explores pastoral owner-operators' personal experience and opinion of stand-alone power supply (SPS) systems over 30 years in remote pastoral regions Western Australia (WA). This research was undertaken qualitatively in terms of the experience of remote Australians of energy service delivery and SPS system performance to obtain personal opinions of remote pastoral people who rely on SPS systems to provide basic needs. This research concluded that the impressive growth in total renewable energy capacity in remote off-grid SPS systems in WA is primarily due to subsidies that aim to fuel-switch to renewable energy sources. Despite this, other major reasons for the increases in renewable energy capacity are escalating conventional fuel costs, difficulties in attracting qualified service contractors, increasing desire for quiet, 24-h energy services, and a range of unique situations. Despite the increased use of renewable energy technologies, this research reinforced previous research conclusions that consistently found both the conventional and renewable energy service sector wanting in remote areas. Three areas needing attention to sustain the growth in renewable capacity are: technical SPS system integration, service infrastructure, and technical reliability.

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