The hybrid renewable energy project – including more than 1.2 MW solar PV array, an integrated control system and over 3.2 MWh of battery storage – is set to provide at least two thirds of the electricity needs of the Lord Howe Island community.
This system will significantly reduce the Island’s reliance on expensive, shipped-in diesel, which means reduced emissions, better energy security, and buffering against diesel price shocks.
A contract has been awarded to Photon Energy Engineering Australia to install the solar and battery microgrid, with work expected to be completed in 2020. Jacobs will continue to lead the technical elements of the project and community consultation during the design and construction phase.
Funding for the $11.1 million project has been secured through a $4.5 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and a $5.9 million loan from the New South Wales Government (to be paid back via diesel fuel savings), with the balance of funds contributed by the Lord Howe Island Board.
The partnership with ARENA means that knowledge about the Island’s hybrid renewable energy microgrid will be shared to the benefit of other remote communities in the future.
The journey so far
In 2012, the Board adopted the Lord Howe Island Renewable Energy Supply Road Map to reduce the Island’s reliance on diesel fuel for electricity generation. The Road Map set the ambitious target of 63% renewable energy by 2017.
The Road Map was developed with the assistance of the community-led Sustainable Energy Working Group (SEWG), who have been advocating for a renewable energy solution for the Island since 2010.
With ARENA funding secured in 2014, Jacobs was engaged to deliver the initial project which aimed to produce 1 MW of renewable energy through a combination of solar PV, battery and wind turbine generation and battery storage. Following extensive community consultation, the solar PV, battery storage and associated control system were approved by the Board in 2016, but during the course of the project it was determined the wind turbine component could no longer be delivered.
Further feasibility studies completed by Jacobs in 2017 identified that reconfiguring the system to include a larger solar PV array and increased battery storage can deliver the required 67% renewable energy penetration to the Lord Howe Island grid. This design change enabled the project to progress to its current design and construct phase, with the funding from ARENA and the New South Wales Government still secured.
LHI Energy Supply Road Map PDF 1.99 MB
The hybrid renewable energy project Facebook page will provide updates during the construction phase.