27 November 2023

Modular clean energy concept is a Pacific Island game-changer

Hobart-based Entura helps remote communities create clean energy networks. The company draws on 100 years of experience as owner–operator of Tasmania’s dams and power stations.

Today, Entura consultants design hybrid renewable energy solutions as part of their portfolio of power and water solutions. They integrate wind, solar and hydro power into dependable, dispatchable power supply, backed up with battery storage. Entura has modularised its solutions for rapid, low-cost rollout. The company’s power projects can be found across Asia, from the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific to Ross Island in the Antarctic.

A containerised renewable energy solution

Hydro Tasmania began in 1914 and grew to manage 54 major dams and 30 hydropower stations. Today, its consulting arm – Entura – devises practical solutions to clean energy challenges. This includes finding ways to reduce or eliminate dependence on energy generated from fossil fuels.

Entura’s expertise includes integrating various forms of clean energy and storage. In 2018, Entura designed a new power solution for Flinders Island in the Bass Strait, which has a population of 900 people. This involved a 900 kW wind turbine, a 200 kW solar array, a 266 kWh battery and an advanced hybrid control system.

The way the company delivered the Flinders Island project made Entura a clean energy game-changer.

‘We containerised the technologies behind the Flinders Island energy solution,’ says Tammy Chu, Managing Director, Entura. ‘This meant we could produce and test the equipment off-site. The containerised approach reduces risk, costs and rollout time. Flinders Island is now 60% powered by renewables.’

Entura’s clients have deployed hybrid clean-energy solutions in remote locations across the Pacific. This includes power systems in Tuvalu, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

‘We’ve been able to replace diesel with renewables on multiple islands,’ says Chu. ‘We can add biodiesel to wind and solar to achieve a 100% renewables solution. Then we add a smart demand system and modularise the entire package. This means we can market the solution to the Pacific Islands as a dependable energy system.’

Exporting hydro know-how

Entura began selling its solutions in the mid-1990s. Clients included Australia’s Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Asia Development Bank, and water and power utilities.

Engagements span the lifecycle of power projects. Entura may be asked to conduct a pre-feasibility study or construct a business case. The company also delivers detailed designs for projects.

Chu says there is always an environmental aspect to Entura’s work. This is where the company’s heritage in Tasmania plays a role.

‘Our expertise is in how to manage power systems sustainably within an environment,’ she says. ‘Sometimes we need to integrate ecotourism into a solution. Sometimes its fisheries or aquaculture. We problem-solve and manage risks to help communities create renewable energy.

‘We also provide advice on how to gain and sustain local support for major projects.’

A number of rectangular metal containers are connected to house a mobile clean energy distribution system


A training institute for clean energy management

Entura is also an engine for upskilling. The company has created a training organisation in Hobart called the Entura Clean Energy and Water Institute (ECEWI). The institute delivers operator training to local, national and overseas clients. It teaches students how to manage complex energy and water systems.

‘Our training institute is something special,’ says Chu. ‘We are committed to capability building in the Pacific. We bring people over to the institute so they can learn on our assets. The training is very broad. It can cover anything from how to maintain dams to how to make sure an energy solution is environmentally sustainable.

‘We recently hosted 20 engineers from India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal on a two-week course in water management. We use insights from decades of working with clean energy to make a real difference. We are able to help others fight climate change.’

Austrade’s market briefings

Demand for expertise in renewable energy systems is growing all the time. With decades of credibility in clean energy management, Entura is becoming a global brand.

Austrade’s network of advisors is helping Entura to project its expertise to a global audience.

‘Advisors assist Entura with market briefings and sector insights,’ says Chu. ‘In the Philippines, Austrade advisors arranged introductions to energy companies, government officials and officers in multilateral development banks. They have helped us create greater brand awareness.

‘Today we don’t just export our solutions, we export our engineering services as well. We are a leading agency in what we do.’