29 | 04 | 2017


Greening the Islands Awards candidate: Batteries key to stability of power system in Azores’ shift to renewables

The island of Graciosa in the Azores, an island of just under 4,400 inhabitants, is setting out to demonstrate that batteries can help it reap the benefits of renewable energy sources – thus reducing oil imports and carbon emissions – while ensuring a stable electricity system at the same time.

Graciosa, one of the nine islands that make up the remote archipelago of the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, is looking to shift from diesel-based power generation to renewables. It has teamed up with Berlin- based company Younicos to develop a solar plant, wind park and battery storage system that will provide about 70% of power demand on the island.

The key ingredient is a 2.5-megawatt storage system. The project aims to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of its lithium-ion titanate battery cells, showing that they can improve the stability of an electricity system characterised by intermittent generation and variations in demand.

The 25 million-euro investment is due for completion at the end of this year and, according to the project director, will be a milestone of the future of renewable energy in the Azores and in all remote places of the world.”

In fact, the entire archipelago is undergoing an investment programme between 2015 and 2019 that will see fuel oil consumption decline by 92,600 tons and slash carbon emissions by 300,900 tons a year. These are critical benefits in a region where tourism represents one of the key sources of economic activity, along with fishing.

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