A proposal for a major renewable energy project on Lord Howe Island (pictured) is being pitched as a potential model for remote communities across the country.
Plans have been drawn up for thousands of solar panels, two wind turbines and a battery system to be installed on the island.
It is currently totally reliant on diesel from the mainland for electricity, consuming more than half a million litres each year.
The island is located roughly 600km east of Port Macquarie, on the New South Wales Mid North Coast.
The solar and wind system would produce roughly 1MW – reducing the need for diesel by up to 70 per cent.
Proponents of the development argue moving to renewable energy would reduce power costs, reduce the risk of environmental damage, and reduce the health impacts of burning diesel.
The project is being planned in two stages, with 2000 solar panels and the battery system comprising the first stage.
Due to Lord Howe Island’s status as a World Heritage Area, the Federal Government is required to approve the project. The board is then expected to vote on the development application, currently on public display.
More than $5 million in funding has been secured from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, along with more than
$5 million in a loan from the NSW Treasury.
The board’s infrastructure services manager Andrew Logan said the project has partly been pitched as providing a future model for similar remote communities across the country. He said it is a simple concept that, if successful, could easily be replicated.
“While it’s not new technology, it’s a reasonably unique combination of solar, wind and battery in a very remote situation being 600km off the mainland,” he said, as reported by ABC News.
“We’re trying to prove if you can do it on Lord Howe Island, you can do it anywhere else in mainland Australia and other islands off the coast of Australia.”