The official start-up of a wind turbine on Rottnest Island today is a vital part of the State Government’s plans to ensure the long-term financial viability and environmental protection of the island.
Tourism Minister Bob Kucera said the 600-kilowatt wind turbine, a $4million partnership with the Federal Government, would help power the island’s desalination plant.
The turbine, atop a 46m tower on Mount Herschel, will save a minimum of $500,000 a year in fuel costs and is expected to provide about 40 per cent of the island's power generation.
A major feature of having the turbine in place is that it will address part of the enormous energy requirement of the desalination plant, which provides up to 80 per cent of the drinking water on the island.
“In addition to enabling the completion of the wind turbine project, the State Government’s $20million funding of the Rottnest Island Taskforce recommendations has provided $350,000 to sink new beach wells to increase water supply to the desalination plant,” Mr Kucera said.
“This has been teamed with a $400,000 repair program for the island water storage system.”
The Minister said that 12 years ago, Rottnest Island led the way in waste management, becoming the first public authority to introduce recycling bins.
He said in May this year the Rottnest Island Taskforce approved more than $800,000 to provide a sustainable waste system for the island that would see all rubbish removed from the island for disposal, starting next year.
“The waste management strategy now being put in place will set Australian standards in sustainable disposal and recycling of waste, making Rottnest a role model for the rest of the world,” Mr Kucera said.
“Vigorous efforts are also being made by the Rottnest Island Authority and the island’s businesses to cut the use of plastic bags, replacing them with multi-use bags free of charge in every accommodation unit.”
The Minister said other environmental improvements included the fast tracking of asbestos roof removal on the island - to be completed in the next 12 months - and plans to amend the 1987 Rottnest Island Act to give the island national park status.
“Almost to the day in 1696, the man who named Rottnest - Commander Willem de Vlaming - declared: ‘here it seems that nature has spared nothing to render this isle delightful above all other islands that I have ever seen’,” he said.
“Three hundred years later, it is up to us to ensure that the island and its environment can be sustained for the generations to come.”
Minister's office: 9213 7000