Title: Towards Self-Sustainable Island Grids through Optimal Utilization of Renewable Energy Potential and Community Engagement
Authors: Marko Jeli, Marko Bati, Nikola Tomaševi, Andrew Barney, Heracles Polatidis, Tracey Crosbie, Dana Abi Ghanem, Michael Short and Gobind Pillai.
Date: Received: 25 May 2020; Accepted: 16 June 2020; Published: 1 July 2020
Abstract: Solving the issue of energy security for geographical islands presents a one-of-a-kind problem that has to be tackled from multiple sides and requires an interdisciplinary approach that transcends just technical and social aspects. With many islands suffering in terms of limited and costly energy supply due to their remote location, providing a self-sustainable energy system is of utmost importance for these communities. In order to improve upon the status quo, novel solutions and projects aimed at increasing sustainability not only have to consider optimal utilization of renewable energy potentials in accordance with local conditions, but also must include active community participation. This paper analyzes both of these aspects for island communities and brings them together in an optimization scenario that is utilized to determine the relationship between supposed demand flexibility levels and achievable savings in a setting with variable renewable generation. The results, specifically discussed for a use case with real-world data for the La Graciosa island in Spain, show that boosting community participation and thus unlocking crucial demand flexibility, can be used as a powerful tool to augment novel generation technologies with savings from flexibility at around 7.5% of what is achieved purely by renewable sources.