Lord Howe Island, a small island situated 600 km off the Australian coast and a favorite with holidaymakers, is to flip the switch to renewable energy.
Currently reliant mostly on diesel power, the island has received a $AUS 11.1 million grant from the federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW government. The funding will go towards powering the island with a combined solar and battery energy system.
The renewable energy focus will remove much of the island’s previous reliance on diesel power.
Insights from Lord Howe Island will benefit other remote communities
The 1.2 MW solar PV array will be paired with a battery system with over 3.2 MWh capacity. ARENA CEO Darren Miller said lessons learned during the building of the project would be applied to the energy needs of other remote communities outside of the island.
“Lord Howe Island faces a unique set of challenges in supplying and recovering the costs of providing essential services to its community and in protecting Lord Howe Island’s natural environment,” he said.
We are excited to see a renewable solution will be adopted that will significantly improve the sustainability of the power supply, improve energy security and reduce the impact of future fuel cost increases.”
“Knowledge gained from this project will be shared for the benefit of other isolated and remote communities,” he added.
Reliance on diesel fuel reduced by two-thirds
Peter Adams, the CEO of the trust that manages the island on behalf of the NSW government, said the announcement was a terrific result for Lord Howe Island, its visitors and residents.
“The announcement of this project is a fantastic result for the Lord Howe Island community and visitors alike. The island will be able to reduce its reliance upon imported diesel fuel for generating electricity. We are reducing the environmental impact of our energy supply while also improving energy security,” he said.
Adams added that the renewable energy system proposed for the island will help it to retain its important World Heritage status.
“We set a target to reduce our diesel use by two-thirds, and we believe we will not only meet that target but potentially exceed it. To achieve this result without detracting from the World Heritage values of Lord Howe Island is a result that everyone should celebrate.”
NSW Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean said the benefits of the renewable energy project for Lord Howe Island were “…both local and national, as every litre of diesel needs to be shipped to the island.”
The solar and battery system will be built on the island early next year and is expected to be completed by the middle of 2020.