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Webinar 1 | Mar-16 | Renewable Energy in Small Island Grids: Case study -Tuvalu

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Julia McDonald

Off the beaten path: rural energy & remoteness

Far-flung islands in the South Pacific and treacherous terrain in the Himalayas: both pose enormous challenges for rural development and energy. In this webinar, we’ll gather experts who will tell stories about their experiences working in remote areas where energy access is limited or almost non-existent – and what they are doing to promote access.

What common challenges have they faced, and what solutions are they finding for energy in remote areas? How can these remote, “last mile” villages become places where people have full access to education, health, technology, and livelihoods? What can policymakers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and civil society do to make this a reality?

Our webinar series is a little different: each expert will speak for less than 10 minutes and will focus on their on-the-ground experience using photos to tell their story.

http://e4sv.org/events/off-beaten-path-rural-energy-remoteness/

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Webinar 1 | Mar-16 | Renewable Energy in Small Island Grids: Case study -Tuvalu

  1. 1. Renewable Energy in Small Island Grids Case study - Tuvalu
  2. 2. About ITP •Specialist renewable energy consulting firm •Over 30 years international experience and 1,000 projects •Head office in UK •Major regional offices in India, China and Australia
  3. 3. About ITP - Australia • Head office in Canberra, offices in South Australia and NSW • Active in Australia and the Pacific region for over 10 years • Involved in RE projects of all scales (1 kW to 50+ MW) • Services • Engineering Consultancy • Project Engineering • Energy Markets and Advisory • International Aid and Development
  4. 4. Mini-grids – Tuvalu northern islands 4 of xx slides
  5. 5. Case study – Tuvalu northern islands 5 of xx slides • Nine small atoll islands • Total population approx. 10,000 • 6,000 on the capital, Funafuti • Other islands populations 100-1,500 • Outer islands only accessible by boat, typically 24hrs by boat to each island • Irregular shipping (every 3-6 weeks) • Shipping often disrupted by weather or boat unavailability
  6. 6. Case study – Tuvalu northern islands 6 of xx slides • Existing low voltage AC electricity grids (diesel) since 2001 • Grids operated by electricity utility (Tuvalu Electricity Corporation) • Local operators (TEC employees) deal with day to day running • Technicians from the capital visit periodically or for repairs when required
  7. 7. Why renewable energy? 7 of xx slides • Reduce reliance on imported diesel • Reduce running costs • Cleaner • Quieter • Improve reliability • But: • Upfront cost can be high • Storage required • Can have integration problems with generator
  8. 8. Generator efficiency 8 of xx slides
  9. 9. Generators 9 of xx slides
  10. 10. Nanumea power station 10 of xx slides
  11. 11. Village 11 of xx slides
  12. 12. Village 12 of xx slides
  13. 13. Tuvalu northern islands- key issues 13 of xx slides • Reliability • Only 12-18 hours of power per day normally (down to 2-4 hrs sometimes) • Frequent diesel shortages due to shipping unreliability • Generator breakdowns • Long delays for repairs (can take weeks to send a technician from Funafuti) • Cost • Estimated ~$1.20 to $1.50/kWh cost of supplying energy (possibly more) • Vulnerable to diesel price changes • Vulnerable to utility cash flow issues • Tariffs ~25c/kWh – outer islands heavily subsidised by main island and by government • Remote diesel grids were built as a service to the community, but are very expensive for the government
  14. 14. Transportation 14 of xx slides
  15. 15. Unloading 15 of xx slides
  16. 16. Transportation 16 of xx slides
  17. 17. Vulnerability to weather 17 of xx slides
  18. 18. Aims of outer islands solar project 18 of xx slides • Outer islands 100% renewable energy • 24hr power • System to last 20 years without need for major modification • Reduce operating costs of outer islands power systems • Improve power reliability (and availability during disasters) • Grant-funded (NZ Govt) • Eliminate need for aid fuel subsidies
  19. 19. Load curve – Nanumea island 19 of xx slides 0.0 5.0 10.0 15.0 20.0 25.0 30.0 35.0 00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00 00:00 Load(kW) After load growth Assumed loads From data logger
  20. 20. Load curve – Vaitupu island 20 of xx slides 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 00:00 03:00 06:00 09:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00 00:00 Load(kW) From logs From data logger Assumed loads
  21. 21. Load estimate - Nanumea 21 of xx slides • Average 550 kWh per day • Little seasonal variation, but some “busy” times of year. • Highest demand around Christmas and special events • 40% of demand during “solar” hours • 60% evening/night time • Allowance for extra days with poor sun – 2 days • Use this to size battery bank • Then size solar PV array to meet day time load plus enough extra energy to fully charge the batteries.
  22. 22. Design schematic 22 of xx slides
  23. 23. Design features 23 of xx slides • Modular • if one unit fails, most of the system can be kept online • Spares kept on island, easy to swap out • Off-the-shelf inverter/controller, easy to order a new one • Robust and corrosion resistant • Cyclone proof structure • No air conditioning required • Because the air conditioner is often a failure point • Low maintenance
  24. 24. Completed system 24 of xx slides Photo credit: Heather Logie
  25. 25. Display 25 of xx slides
  26. 26. Modular inverter/chargers 26 of xx slides
  27. 27. Sealed batteries 27 of xx slides
  28. 28. Passive cooling 28 of xx slides
  29. 29. Performance so far 29 of xx slides • System is very large for current loads – no diesel needed • Batteries drop to 80% overnight, are fully charged before midday if sunny • Can go for 5 days of cloudy weather without generator • 1 inverter failure – local operator successfully replaced it and sent it back for warranty claim
  30. 30. Training and operation 30 of xx slides • Local operators involved from beginning of construction • Training throughout construction and troubleshooting • Other staff in Funafuti (capital) have been doing solar training over a longer period and are adapting well with support from the manufacturers • Very challenging for the outer island operators to adapt to the new technology • Local operators call head office (if possible) for support from more skilled technicians
  31. 31. Lessons/challenges 31 of xx slides Some challenges ITP has seen over the years: • Skill level of staff on outer islands is usually low • Systems becoming too reliable (operators stop maintaining generators totally/ get lazy) • Social problems with 24hr power (eg loud music at night) • Logistics can be very complicated • Getting accurate data and information is difficult (eg powerhouse data, shipping schedules) • Communications difficult • Limited market for companies with experience in designing and building renewable energy systems on island environments
  32. 32. Southern Cross House, 6/9 McKay St, Turner, ACT PO Box 6127 O’Connor, ACT 2602 info@itpau.com.au p +61 (0) 2 6257 3511 f +61 (0) 2 6257 3611 itpau.com.au IT Power Renewable Energy Consulting Questions

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