Ill wind blows a power of good

Dale Webster; 16/12/09

Four years after Cyclone Ingrid ripped apart the Gawa Christian School on Elcho Island, off the Arnhem Land coast, it is wind that will secure its future with the commissioning last month of what is believed to be the largest private off-the-grid wind turbine in the southern hemisphere. The tower will replace a diesel generator that has been eating up to $80,000 worth of fuel a year and providing an unreliable power source that has cut out up to 60 times a day. There have also been periods when the community has been without power for weeks when it has broken down. Even when the generator is working properly, the school can afford to run it only between 6am and 10.30pm, which means hot, sleepless nights without even a fan to bring relief.