Modelling a renewable and energy positive community in the Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland
AuthorGraham, Isobel Asta
AffiliationOffice for Environmental Programs
MetadataShow full item record
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2016 Isobel Asta Graham
Australia’s electricity system is fossil fuel reliant and highly centralised, making it vulnerable to shocks. The community of Tamborine Mountain in South East Queensland has experienced the inherent vulnerability of a centralised system through extended outages as a result of weather and maintenance events. This study addresses Tamborine Mountain’s potential transition to a more secure and independent net positive renewable energy system, in two separate but linked studies. The first study models the optimal renewable energy system using Hybrid Optimisation Model for Electric Renewables (HOMER) software. The optimal system is found to be 36MW of solar PV, eight 1.5MW wind turbines, 1MW of biomass and 368kW of hydroelectricity. This system has a levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of $0.643/kWh. A post-HOMER analysis examined the practical implications, business case, and different operational options for the provision of this renewable energy system to the community. A community energy model is proposed to raise the required capital cost of $79.3M, and develop community resilience, energy security, and affordability. The second study assesses the community’s willingness to pay (WTP) for three renewable energy models through a contingent valuation (CV) survey. The three models are an independent ‘off grid’ household, a community-owned energy cooperative powered by the mix of renewable energy described in the first study, and the purchase of ‘green power’ from a community owned energy company. The mean WTP was found to be $21,560.49 for an energy independent house, $8091.52 for a community energy cooperative, and a 19.75% increase in bills for renewable energy from a community-owned company.
Keywordsrenewable; HOMER; Queensland; Tamborine; contingent valuation; willingness to pay; Tamborine Mountain
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