Team:KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau - Germany)ELECGALAPAGOS S.A. (Empresa Eléctrica Provincial Galápagos - Ecuador)WIP (Wirtschaft und Infrastruktur GmbH & Co Planungs-KG - Germany)
The Galapagos Islands, in Ecuador, are one of the World Heritage Sites named by the UNESCO, because of the unique ecosystems of the islands and the high percentage of endemic species. The oil spill caused by the tanker Jessica in 2001 shocked the international community and initiated the creation of the Galapagos Renewable Energy Project, with the objective of reducing the amount of fossil fuel required in the islands for electricity generation. An important amount of fossil fuel consumed in the islands is for electricity generation.The objective of the project, via a KfW´s ¬ 7.8 Millions donation, consists of reducing the environmental risks and to achieve a high efficient energy supply in the islands by:1)Implementing Renewable Energies (two Solar Photovoltaic generators will contribute to the electricity production. They have a total capacity of 800KWp)2)Modernizing the current systems for fuel management and selected generators at the existing diesel centrals. These 2 last actions will reduce the yearly amount of diesel imported to the Island by around 60% in the case of Isabela (status 2007), which means more than 400 liters of diesel per day (more than 146.000 liters of diesel per year). This also means a reduction of more than 350 tons of CO2 per year. In addition, the project aims to improve all the working and security conditions for the utility workers (in compliance with international safety and environmental regulations). Currently, the project is in the initial stage of the installation process.The current project involves 3 important actors:KfW on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is the donating institution.The utility ELECGALAPAGOS S.A. is the local beneficiary and will operate and maintain the installations.The private German energy consultancy WIP was contracted to advise and support ELECGALAPAGOS in project implementation.
The main innovative aspect of the project is the installation of the largest hybrid photovoltaic-diesel system in the world. Also the rehabilitation of the entire diesel central and part of the distribution system on the Islands of Isabela and partially on Santa Cruz will be done to minimize grid losses. To ensure sustainability of the project, the local partner ELECGALAPAGOS is involved in all stages of the project.
Individuals: One of the consequences of this project is that the inhabitants of the islands will enjoy a more reliable grid, which means that people will have less loss of electricity supply and the high quality of the grid will prevent damage of electro-domestic devices. Further, individuals will be aware of the usage and functioning of renewable energy systems. Society: Highly reliable and high quality grid. An important reduction in the environmental risk associated with the transport of diesel. Fewer CO2 emissions. A higher awareness of renewable energy systems.Economy: The grid will be less dependent on fossil fuels, their fluctuating prices and the risk associated with its management. It will open employment opportunities in the field of Renewable Energies. More reliable and high quality grid services will also avoid economic losses of local businesses due to power cuts and damage to electronic equipment. Environment: Protects marine environment by reducing the amount of fossil fuel brought the continent and improving the safety measures when fossil fuel is discharged in the islands (according to international regulations). Protect land environment by the rehabilitation of the fossil fuel centrals according to international regulations. Contribute to reduce the effect of global warming through the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Upon successful completion this project will provide an incentive for other electricity companies and governments to invest in Renewable Energy systems. It can further become an example for other conventional medium-size grid systems to convert into a hybrid systems, which is a first step in reducing fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emission. Hopefully, this example will also inspire others to find innovative ways of using Renewable Energies in combination with conventional fuel generators in high-demand grids.
Individuals: Better electricity quality, less probability of damaged electro-domestics and awareness of the usage of renewable energy.Society: High quality grid. Less risks of damaging the local way of living. The proof that renewable energy can become a major generator among medium size grids.Economy: More than 35.000 US dollars per year saved in diesel consumption (for the utility company -subsidized cost-). More than 80.000 US dollars per year saved for the government ( cost without subsidies ). Less risk of damaging local economical activities such as tourism and fishing.Environment: Reduction of more than 146.000 liters of diesel imported to the islands for electricity generation purposes. Reduction of more than 350 tons of CO2 released to the atmosphere.
Giving the unique situation of the Galapagos Islands, in which the environment, economy and social welfare are closely linked, sustainability in one of these areas will affect the sustainability in the other areas. Promoting the use of renewable energies will contribute to a more sustainable environment.
A hybrid renewable system of such a dimension can become an example for other island grids worldwide. It demonstrates that hybrid renewable energy systems may be the best solutions for for settlements of a few thousand people.