Lord Howe Island has finally called for tenders for the installation of solar, wind and battery storage to meet its long-held goal to reduce its reliance on expensive and dirty diesel generation by two thirds and focus mostly on renewables.
The tender for 450kW of solar PV, 400kW of wind energy and a 400kw/400kWh battery storage system was formally posted by consulting group Jacobs, which has been advising the Lord Howe Island Board, and its financial supporters, the NSW government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Lord Howe Island expects the new system will cut back diesel use by 66 per cent, from 518,000 litres per year to around 180,000 litres per year. It will also mean that renewable energy accounts or 67 per cent of its electricity needs, ahead of the targeted 63 per cent set out in its energy roadmap put together in 2012.
The Jacobs study canvassed two options, the mix of wind and solar, and solar only (550kW0, but decided that the solar plus wind option presented better value and more diesel reduction. The island also has around 120kW of privately owned solar PV, and has three 300kw diesel generators, although only two are used at any one time.
According to the Jacobs technical report, this is what the energy mix may look like once the renewable energy and battery storage is installed.
The whole project, including the scoping study, has been supported by a $4.5 million grant from ARENA and a $5.6 million loan from NSW Treasury, which will be repaid from the savings of reduced diesel use.
“Lord Howe Island is 600km off the east coast of Australia and, like other remote off-grid communities across the country, is heavily reliant on diesel generators that are costly to run and subject to volatile fuel prices,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said in 2014, when the funding was announced.
Frischknecht said at the time that the project would transform the energy generation profile of the World Heritage site, which is home to a permanent island community as well as being an iconic Australian tourist destination.
The value of the installation and control systems is estimated at between $3 million and $5 million. Tenders close on August 10. The project is expected to be completed in 2017.