Solar PV R&DProject Lord Howe Island Hybrid Renewable Energy System
This report explores how the Lord Howe Island Board sought to ensure that the extended planning phase for the Lord Howe Island Hybrid Renewable Energy Project did not result in the project failing to keep up with the latest technology and community values.
Lord Howe Island is located 600km off the east coast of the Australian mainland. Lord Howe and Admiralty Islands Group was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage property in 1982 in recognition of the global significance of the Island’s beauty and biodiversity. The Island community relies upon diesel fuel that is shipped in to generate electricity. Transport of this fuel at sea poses risks to the environment and energy security whilst exposing the community to global fuel price fluctuations.
The business case for the Lord Howe Island Hybrid Renewable Energy Project was developed in 2014 by the Lord Howe Island Board, which is a statutory authority charged with the care, control and management of the Island. The project was designed to reduce diesel use by 67%. The initial renewable solution was to include solar and wind generation with battery storage, however, it was determined during the course of the project that the wind turbine component could no longer be delivered. Further feasibility studies undertaken by Jacobs since 2017 identified that a reconfigured and resized solar PV and battery storage generator would provide the same benefits. The Board had previously issued development consent for the solar and battery components of the project in 2016. With consent issued, the model was put to tender, negotiations commenced, and a final contract was awarded to Photon Energy in 2019.