Rottnest Island's wind turbine produces around 35% of the Islands’ power needs, at maximum capability the turbine will be able to produce around 37% of the Island’s power!
The upgrading of the desalination plant and installation of a wind turbine generator has greatly reduced the reliance on rainfall dependant water supplies on Rottnest Island. These facilities will save approximately 430 000 litres of diesel per year and reduce greenhouse gases by around 1100 tons per year.
The Rottnest Island wind energy project has been evolving from as far back as 1979. Construction of several wind turbines on Rottnest Island was proposed as part of a plan to find the most effective and least costly electricity supply to remote locations. Two original wind turbines of different design were erected on Forbes Hill, however due to difficulties experienced these turbines were removed in the early 1990’s.
Up until the installation of the new wind turbine generator in December 2004, Rottnest Island has been totally reliant on liquid petroleum fuels for power generation.
In January 2001 the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) reported that its underground water supply was being depleted and the salt levels in the normally fresh water were rising. This was attributed to the overall ongoing lack of rainfall on Rottnest Island over the previous 5-10 years. In response to this, the RIA produced an Integrated Water and Power Development Plan. The philosophy behind the plan was to shift from a predominantly rainfall dependant water source to a majority of potable water being supplied through desalination. A single wind turbine would supplement diesel-generated power in order to make the shift economically and environmentally acceptable.
The Rottnest Island Authority launched a Community Consultation Plan in 2001 to test public opinion on the erection of a wind turbine, and the report from this consultation indicated public support of the project.