Off-grid and off the map? Energy independence for small islands with Wind and Solar power

28.08.2018 Category: News

On Zanzibar, the grid connection to the mainland of Tanzania is weak: Two submarine cables connect the main island, one backup cable from the 1980s at the very limits of its physical lifetime, the other with limited capacity to deal with the projected increasing demand on this island paradise. Power blackouts are common and expensive conventional backups an unsatisfying solution - a challenge that Zanzibar shares with many islands around the globe. "The fuel, which is in many cases diesel, is transported on small boats to these islands.” as Dr. Thomas Hillig on his platform for renewable energy on islands describes. This makes it costly and dependent on volatile markets.

The solutions would be to generate more power directly on the island. This is when Solar and Wind energy concepts come into play. Already in 2011, Suntrace installed a solar measurement station on Cyprus and supervised measurements for the Solmap project in India on the Andaman Islands on behalf of the Indian National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE). In 2013, solar measurements in Indonesia followed and since 2015 we support the ESMAP (Energy Sector Management Assistance Program) of the World Bank on the Maldives looking for clean energy solutions for small island (https://www.esmap.org/node/56391). Two years of measurements are completed, and you can access the results in the Global Solar Atlas (http://globalsolaratlas.info/). On Zanzibar, Suntrace has been involved in a European Union project since 2015 to assess the feasibility of Solar and Wind projects; an exercise which provided promising prospects for the renewable energy future of the archipelago. Site conditions are favourable, and the economics start to make sense.

Energy independence of islands is feasible though concepts should be smart and tailor-made. Suntrace shall be happy to guide you along the way from measurements to bankability.