Energy savings in the millions
Barbados will save millions of dollars and remove thousands of barrels of oil from its import bill under a renewable energy programme focussed on increase solar and wind resources.
That’s one of the major findings of the Barbados Wind and Solar Integration Study commissioned by Barbados Light & Power Company (BL&P) and conducted by GE Energy Management Energy Consulting.
BL&P recently released the main findings which said that based on scenarios evaluated in the study, there would be savings of between $19 million and $62.5 million per year with increased new wind and solar resources.
There would also be a 66 000 to
225 000 barrels decrease in the amount of oil used in the production of electricity, the report calculated.
“As an island system, the [BL&P] grid is highly dependent on petroleum-based fuels for power generation. New wind and solar resources will displace expensive oil generation and lead to significant reductions in energy production costs (that is, variable operating costs). In the scenarios evaluated in this study, production costs were reduced by between $19 million and $62.5 million per year (five per cent to fifteen per cent).
“The avoided production costs associated with wind and solar generation ranged between 473 and 405 megawatt hours across the scenarios evaluated,” the report said.
“In addition, by reducing the overall oil consumption in the generation mix, wind and solar will act as a hedge against future oil market and currency volatility. Increased use of renewables will allow Barbados to utilise domestic energy resources, thus decreasing the dependence on foreign fuel imports. In the scenarios analysed, total oil consumption decreased by approximately 66 000 to 225 000 barrels of oil per year.”
The study also concluded that energy storage was not “an absolute necessity to accommodate wind and solar integration”.
“The wind and solar energy assumed in study scenarios was fully utilised to serve system load with very little curtailment in only a few hours of the year. Therefore, energy storage for time-shifting of energy would have no significant economic benefit to grid operations. Energy storage as a reserve asset, however, was shown to have significant economic benefit.
“A five megawatt storage device would reduce thermal fleet production costs by approximately $5 million to $6 million per year in all of the study scenarios. With [renewable energy] penetration levels above nine per cent, a 12 megawatt storage device would reduce thermal fleet production costs by approximately $11 million per year.”
Speaking recently when BL&P released the report’s findings, manager, systems planning and performance, Johann Greaves said BL&P “needed to know of any changes required to our existing interconnection standards and the maximum allowable intermittent [renewable energy] limit that could be accommodated on the existing system without mitigation measures”.
“It was also important for us to be aware of the measures and associated costs required to accommodate the increasing intermittent renewable energy penetration levels,” he said.
“There are some misconceptions about the role the Barbados Light & Power Company…plays in enabling a renewable energy future for Barbados. But we can assure Barbadians that we are committed to working with industry stakeholders to find the right energy solutions for Barbados. Of paramount importance are employee and customer safety, and the long term stability of the grid.
“The impacts of intermittent energy sources on the stability of the national grid must be fully considered. We will continue to protect the stability and safety of electricity service for all Barbadians,” he added. (SC)