GE Energy Consulting Simulations Show Barbados Light & Power’s System Will Be Able to Exceed 16 Percent Renewable Energy Integration over Time
SCHENECTADY, N.Y.—June 2, 2015—In order to develop a comprehensive assessment on the impact of increased penetrations of wind and solar generation resources on the operation of its island grid, Barbados Light & Power Corporation (BLPC) enlisted GE's Energy Consulting business (NYSE: GE) to lead its Barbados Renewable Integration Study (BRIS).
The goal of the BRIS was to assess the technical and economic impact of intermittent renewable energy resources on the generation, transmission and distribution system of the BLPC. The study addressed the potential challenges of operating BLPC's power system with increasing levels of wind and solar power generation and provided recommendations on:
* Any necessary changes to the requirements and standards for interconnecting intermittent renewable energy resources to the Barbados grid system.
* The maximum allowable intermittent renewable energy limit that can be accommodated on the existing system without mitigation measures.
* Mitigation measures, including energy storage technologies, and associated costs to accommodate renewable energy for the scenarios presented.
The study was conducted to determine the long-term impact of renewables. Overall, four scenarios were chosen to be analyzed, ranging from a business-as-usual reference case with wind and solar resources at current levels to a scenario with 16 percent of annual energy provided by wind and solar resources.
GE's Energy Consulting business led the overall project, modeling the production cost and analyzing the capacity value, dynamic stability and distribution system of the Barbados power grid. To execute the broad range of technical analysis required for this study, GE worked closely with the BLPC to understand its system and operations. AWS Truepower provided the chronological two-second wind and solar data used for the study.
"The integrated planning study was the first of its kind done by the utility; it included specialized and complex wind and solar models to help determine the results. The local regulators, The Fair Trading Commission, are ultimately responsible for the decision to increase the allowable amount of intermittent energy, but this study provides key information to help them in making their determination," said Johann Greaves, BLPC systems planning and performance manager.
The GE-led study found that no insurmountable operating challenges were uncovered when connecting up to 20 megawatts (MW) of distributed photovoltaic (PV), 15 MW of wind and 20 MW of centralized PV generation to the Barbados power grid. This was primarily enabled by carrying additional regulating reserves and did not require extensive mitigations to the system or operations. The study noted that minimal curtailment of the renewable generation would be needed.
The following mitigation measures are required to improve the reliability and security of BLPC's grid under the examined renewable energy penetration limits:
* Spinning reserves to counteract variability of wind and solar.
* Automatic generation control for improved frequency regulation.
* Frequency and voltage ride-through capability on all renewable energy plants.
* Governor droop response from thermal and renewable plants.
* Improved voltage control on distribution feeders.
Voltage and frequency ride-through capability on all new distributed PV systems is especially critical for Barbados since distributed PV is likely to be the dominant type of renewable energy resource on the island. Based on the results of this study, Barbados Light & Power was able to increase the permissible limits on the country's renewable energy rider from 9 MW to 20 MW, allowing continued growth for the Barbados solar industry.
"The integration of renewable power generation resources such as solar and wind onto the grid is integral to the sustainability of today's power grids," said Gene Hinkle, managing director, power economics, GE's Energy Consulting business. "There has been a considerable shift toward cleaner and more sustainable energy production around the world, increasing the need for utilities to be able to accommodate the power produced by renewable sources and turn it into useable power on their networks. The complete analysis of BLPC's power grid equips the company with valuable insight into the future of its renewable integration capabilities."
The study also showed that renewable generation reduced the operating cost by $19-62.5 million per year. These savings could be used to offset capital costs and modifications in operating practices.
About The Barbados Light & Power Company
The Barbados Light & Power Company is committed to over 125,000 customers to provide energy to power every moment of every day, and to provide solutions to power a sustainable tomorrow. As a leading utility in the Caribbean, BLPC is focused on providing a safe, reliable electricity service and on maintaining excellent customer service standards.
BLPC, in keeping with the strategy of parent company Emera Inc., is dedicated to establishing the most cost-effective, clean generation mix and to charting a path towards 100 percent renewable energy for Barbados. www.blpc.com.bb
About GE's Energy Consulting Group
For nearly a century, GE's Energy Consulting experts have focused on solving the electric power industry's most pressing challenges—driving the evolution of electric power systems with greater affordability, reliability, and efficiency. Today, GE's Energy Consulting team continues this tradition by providing innovative solutions across the entire spectrum of power generation, delivery and utilization. With our cross-company resources, GE's Energy Consulting business is able to serve a diverse global client base with a strong local presence.
GE (NYSE: GE) imagines things others don't, builds things others can't and delivers outcomes that make the world work better. GE brings together the physical and digital worlds in ways no other company can. In its labs and factories and on the ground with customers, GE is inventing the next industrial era to move, power, build and cure the world. www.ge.com