Why Solar Microgrids May Fall Short in Replacing the Caribbean’s Devastated Power Systems – IEEE Spectrum

https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/the-smarter-grid/should-a-devastated-caribbean-leap-forward-to-renewable-power-and-microgrids

 After the destruction inflicted across the Caribbean by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, renewable energy advocates are calling for a rethink of the region’s devastated power systems. Renewables advocates argue that the island grids should leapfrog into the future by interconnecting hundreds or thousands of self-sufficient solar microgrids.

Some power system experts, however, say the solar-plus-batteries vision may be oversold. 

 What is clear is that several firms are trying to move fast while they talk, equipping rooftop solar systems with battery storage that enables consumers to operate independently of stricken grids. Such solar microgrids will deliver power to solar system owners far faster than grid restoration. 

Giving up big transmission lines sounds optimistic to Rockwell at the Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), because batteries are still a rather costly way to balance variable renewable generation.

“You can build community-type microgrids that have some combination of natural gas generation, solar and storage,” says Enchanted Rock CEO Thomas McAndrew.

2 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Off-Grid Electricity Projects Are Starved for Funds
    https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/offgrid-electricity-projects-are-starved-for-funds

    Despite innovative off-grid technology and high-profile initiatives, electrification in sub-Saharan Africa still trails population growth. In 2009 there were 585 million people in the region without power. Five years later, that figure had risen to 632 million, according to the latest International Energy Agency statistics.

    A first-of-its-kind analysis of the flow of capital, released in September by the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All program, shows that off-grid systems simply are not getting the support they deserve.

    “This research shows that only 1 percent of financing for electrification is going into this very promising and dynamic energy solution,”

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tesla makes quick work of Puerto Rico hospital solar power relief project
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/24/tesla-makes-quick-work-of-puerto-rico-hospital-solar-power-relief-project/?ncid=rss&utm_source=tcfbpage&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29&sr_share=facebook

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted on Twitter that Tesla’s solar team could indeed outfit Puerto Rico with power facilities that could be used to generate and store power reserves when the existing grid isn’t available, as it has been after the U.S. territory faced the devastation of hurricane Maria. Now, Tesla is showing that it’s making good on its promise of help, with significant progress being made on one solar generation/storage facility on the island.

    The facility in question will provide power to Hospital del Niño, with a combination of solar cells and Tesla’s Powerpack commercial energy storage batteries.

    Reply

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