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Technical, economic, and mitigation performance of small-scale (≤1 kWe) hydroelectric and photovoltaic water pumping systems relative to network electricity in rural areas in the southwest of Western Australia

McHenry, M.P. (2013) Technical, economic, and mitigation performance of small-scale (≤1 kWe) hydroelectric and photovoltaic water pumping systems relative to network electricity in rural areas in the southwest of Western Australia. In: Poullikka, A., (ed.) Renewable energy: economics, emerging technologies and global practices. Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, New York, pp. 247-266.

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Abstract

This work describes rural hydroelectric and photovoltaic (PV) water pumping systems technical performance simulations and economic and greenhouse gas mitigation modelling research. The picohydroelectric (for electricity service provision) and PV water pumping (for stock water supply) simulations were selected for a detailed analysis due to their high sensitivity to water resource availability in rural areas. Both observed and projected changes in rainfall and runoff in the in the predominantly agricultural southwest (SW) of Western Australia (WA) will heavily influence land, water, and energy supply decision-making at all levels, including landholders. The hydroelectric systems are also contrasted against similar technical alternatives in the region (≤3 kWe grid-connected PV and wind turbine systems). The results suggest the technical performance of small-scale grid-connected (≤1 kWe) hydroelectric systems have the higher technical potential of all the small-scale grid-connected technical alternatives over the short-to-medium term, despite current drying conditions in the SW of WA. Similarly, the small-scale stand-alone PV water pumping system could not compete against grid connected electricity when a connection was available, although the systems would be an effective market adaptation and market mitigation measure to supply stock water in most cases. This is due to stock watering requirements being generally off-grid, and a stand-alone PV pumping system NPV would likely be greater than a grid-connected pumping system that requires electricity network extension. Furthermore, a farm water supply pipe network extension may be economically less attractive than a stand-alone PV pumping system, although this would require further analysis of water resource quality and availability at the water point, and would require cost comparisons between the PV option and the costs associated with extension of the pipe network, including the actual pipe gauge costs, the pipe network extension distance, and whether the pipe was buried or otherwise (etc). However, all of the renewable energy systems were expensive adaptation and mitigation options and were unable to compete with the low cost of network electricity when a connection is available in terms of the NPV against 2010 market prices, subsidies, and costs.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Nova Science Publishers
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/14614
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