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The Sun Shines on Lord Howe Island’s Renewable Energy Project

October 7, 2021 Sustainable Tourism No Comments
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The Lord Howe Island Board has harnessed the subtropical island’s warm sunny climate in the completion of its Hybrid Renewable Energy Project which includes a solar photovoltaic farm with significant battery storage designed to move Lord Howe Island forward to a more sustainable future.

The solar energy project is a real boost for the tiny World Heritage-listed Island situated some 600 kilometres off Australia’s east coast. With aims to improve Lord Howe’s energy self-sufficiency whilst also reducing the island’s reliance on diesel generators and imported fuels, the project has certainly succeeded to date.

After 14-months of active construction work, some 3,240 ground-mounted solar panels were installed at a fixed at 20-degree angle across a north-facing slope on Transit Hill, surrounded by cow pastures and native subtropical forest.

Since completion in April this year, the scheme has operated smoothly through the winter months delivering the island’s spring electricity demand for several days in a row. Updates on the renewable energy generated by the project can be seen on the Board’s live-linked dashboard.

The project’s genesis in 2011 was a result of the community-based Sustainable Energy Working Group which plotted a roadmap adopted by the Lord Howe Island Board to transition Lord Howe Island towards renewable energy. In 2019 The Lord Howe Island Board in partnership with Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) awarded a contract to Photon Energy Engineering Australia Pty Ltd to design and deliver the infrastructure.

The project’s final design incorporates 1.328MW of solar energy generation capacity and 3.712MWh of battery storage. The total project cost is estimated at AU$11.1m of which the Lord Howe Island Board is the largest financial contributor, with AU$4.5m coming from ARENA.

The Lord Howe Island Board A/Chief Executive Officer Angie Stringer said the project was the result of years of planning and was a key component in the Board’s delivery of environmental initiatives designed to protect the island’s World Heritage status and move Lord Howe Island towards a more sustainable future.

“We’re thrilled to see the solar project up and running. Reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and using renewable energy aligns with our goals of preserving and sustaining our very special island ecosystem,” Ms Stringer said.

For more information and to make a booking visit www.lordhoweisland.info; for more information on the Lord Howe Island Board  visit www.lhib.gov.au

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