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How To Increase The Penetration Of Renewable Energies In Insular Power Systems: The Experience Of The Canary Islands

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Date:  Tue, August 27, 2019
Time:  6:30pm - 8:00pm
Location:  Holmes Hall 244
Speaker:  Professor Ricardo Guerrero-Lemus, Director of Master Program in Renewable Energy, University of La Laguna

Sponsored by IEEE Hawaii Power and Energy Society Chapter and University of Hawaii IEEE Student Branch

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located at the northwest of Africa, and composed by seven volcanic islands, 2.1 million inhabitants, and hosted 15.6 million tourists in 2018. The closer the island is to the Sahara Desert, the older geologically it is and drier its climatic conditions. This effect is enhanced by the fact that erosion makes the orography of the older islands less abrupt and, consequently, incapable of retaining the humid trade winds flowing from the northeast. These climatic characteristics define much of the huge renewable energy potential that these islands offer to the 6 isolated power grids that supply electricity to the power system.

El Hierro power grid is leading the integration of renewable energy in the Canaries reaching a 56.5% in 2018 almost totally supplied by the hydro-wind power station of Gorona del Viento SA. Important technical issues are being solved for reaching this and higher expected values of renewable energy integration in the coming future, as the plant started being tested in summer 2014 and is still below its estimated potential. But hydropower infrastructure in the Islands is currently very limited because of the lack of water resources and locations for large reservoirs, pipelines and turbines.

In general, at present (end of 2018) the Canary Islands have reached a 20.3% of non dispatchable energy (wind and PV) integrated in the power system, and this value is expected to continue growing to a 45% in 2025. A record instantaneous non dispatchable energy integration of 60.0% has been reached in the island of Tenerife in May 19, 2019. However, the system operator is starting programming curtailment of wind and PV in the larger power grids from the beginning of 2019. Also, concern about the visual impact of the latest wind farms is rising.

At the same time, distributed PV is starting growing fast as the new regulation approved in April 2019 by the Spanish government has removed a "sun-tax", simplified administrative procedures, and favored not only individual homes to install PV systems but also community buildings. In large areas of our Islands the average solar irradiation is higher than 1800 kWh/kWp·yr. Also, the new Directives expected to be approved by the European Union for regulating the electricity markets will bring new opportunities mostly based on the concept of "energy communities" and smart grids.

In this talk, an introductory description of the different power grids in the Canary islands will be shown and how the insular, regional and central governments are managing the path for a very high penetration of non-dispatchable energy technologies in our islands. Moreover, how our distributed PV market is evolving will be described. Also, the new storage systems that are being installed in our different power grids will be exposed, mostly devoted to avoid frequency disruptions and voltage drops. Finally, some conclusions about the similarities of the Hawaiian and Canaries energy systems, and the opportunities for a stronger collaboration between both archipelagos will be discussed.


Ricardo Guerrero-Lemus obtained his first degree in Physics from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (1993) and PhD in Physics from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (1996), where he served as Assistant Professor in

Department of Applied Physics between 1996 and 1999. In February 1999 he joined Physics Department of University of La Laguna (ULL) as Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2004, and has been Professor since 2016. He teaches in Conventional and Renewable Energies, Power Grids and Energy Efficiency.

Since 2006, he has been Director of Master Program in Renewable Energy at University of La Laguna. He has been Affiliated Research Professor of Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute since May 2012. Since April 2016, he has been a member of Experts Group Task-14 PVPS in International Energy Agency (IEA), a member of European Platform for Universities in Energy Research & Education (EUA-EPUE) and the UNI-SET consortium since November 2017. From December 2011 to June 2015, he was appointed to Permanent Commission of Experts in Energy of Canary Islands Government. Since September 2016, he has been a board member of Canary Islands Energy Observatory and Climate Change Observatory, integrated in Canary Islands Government.

He has been CEO of the Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias SA, Visiting Professor in University of Texas at San Antonio in summer 2014, 2015 and 2016, and Visiting Professor in Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (National University of Singapore) during Jun-Aug 2018, Chair in Spanish Applied Economics Studies Foundation (FEDEA), board member of Technological Institute for Renewable Energies (ITER, SA) of Spain, board member of Gorona del Viento SA hydro-wind power plant (El Hierro), and board member of Güímar and Granadilla Industrial Parks.

His research focuses on renewable energies, and in insular power systems. He has published over one hundred articles in international journals and four books, two of them entitled “Renewable Energies and CO2. Analysis Costs, Environmental Impacts and Technological Trends” (over 55,000 downloads), Lecture Notes in Energy Vol. 3, Ed. Springer Verlag (2013), “Low Carbon Energy in Africa and Latin America. Renewable Technologies, Natural Gas and Nuclear Energy” (over 6,000 downloads), and Lecture Notes in Energy Vol. 38, Ed. Springer Verlag (2017). He has participated in more than thirty national and international research projects and contracts with companies (E.ON, ENDESA, Enel Green Power, Abengoa, El Corte Inglés, etc.) and has served as principal investigator in more than half of these projects and contracts. He is also a partner in an Erasmus+ funded consortia for online teaching of renewable energies in North and West African countries in the period of 2017-2020.

Finally, he is a R&D evaluator for European Commission, Spanish Evaluation and Foresight Agency (ANEP), Agence Nationale de la Recherche (France), DNV-GL, American Chemical Society and other institutions. He has also acted as reviewer for high impact journals as Nature Energy and Energy & Environmental Science.

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