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Potential Use of Alternative Energies in the Australian Offshore Sector
Thomas J. Larby, Christopher K. H. Chin, Vikram Garaniya and Shuhong Chai

The Australian offshore sector consists of many offshore petroleum installations, which are usually equipped with a local power supply based on fossil fuels. Alternative energies have a large potential to reduce fossil fuel usage, and thereby reduce CO2 emissions. The introduction of carbon tax to the Australian industry at the time of writing is also a major concern and that is why alternative energy is seen as an attractive substitute to fossil fuels. This paper explores the potential of powering a 30 MW offshore platform with a gas/diesel turbine complemented by alternative energies over the period of one year. In the present study, three major sources of alternative energies; wind, wave and solar are investigated. Each alternative energy option was investigated separately as a complementary source of power. Using these alternative options, savings in fuel costs per year were estimated as 23% for wind, 6% for wave and 1.3% for the solar option, and these percentages were then directly reflected in carbon tax savings. Other evaluations included fuel (diesel/gas) consumption for one-year period and the break-even point for each technology. Wind energy was found to be the most effective and efficient technology due to its high energy yield, producing 45.2 GWh/year compared to 10.9 GWh/year produced by wave energy and 2.6 GWh/year yielded from solar energy. The higher energy yield means that the wind option also has the shortest break-even period and lowest fossil fuel consumption.

Keywords: Alternative energy, Australia, Oil and gas, Offshore

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