Lord Howe Island Board, The Lord Howe Island Signal
On 28 January 2021, the Hon Matt Kean MP, Minister for Energy and Environment, attended the solar farm with the Port Macquarie MP, Leslie Williams.
The project team and senior management from the Lord Howe Island Board escorted Minister Kean, Leslie Williams MP, and Minister Kean’s chief-of-staff, Ben Coles, around the site with Photon Energy Engineering Australia Managing Director, Michael Gartner.
Board chair, Atticus Fleming, reflected that visible progress towards completion had been made since the Board Members site visit in early December. The Lord Howe Island Board and Photon team briefed the group on the technology and how it will integrate with the existing generators and our Island network, the contractual performance guarantee that Photon must meet and community engagement through the course of the project. Minister Kean was incredibly excited by the community-led progression towards renewable energy, and our efforts to provide energy security and insulation from fuel price shocks.
There was much discussion regarding the opportunities and the appetite for the Island to explore a transition to 100% renewable energy.
Trenching in the western array during January allowed for cables to be laid, and the recent power interruptions have been as a result of connecting up that half of the solar installation with the distribution board.
Once installation of racking and panels is complete and the inverters are commissioned, the full generation capacity of the project can be brought on line.
Photon are required to complete a continuous 7-day test to demonstrate performance and reliability of the plant before the contract allows for the handover of these new power generation assets.
Weather dependent, this test will occur in the second half of February. In parallel, crew will begin to decamp and site tidy-up will commence.
This article appeared in The Lord Howe Island Signal, 31 January 2021.