Hybrid generating systems for remote areas gain traction

May 23, 2016

Hybrid energy systems, which offer lower-cost power to remote off-grid locations, took another step forward with the launch in northern Spain of a new prototype.

Developed by Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa, the prototype inaugurates a system which combines four power sources – solar, wind, diesel and batteries.

If successful, the system in La Muela, in the Aragon region, will further help establish hybrid systems as a credible alternative to standard diesel gensets.

Minimising diesel consumption: Gamesa’s prototype hybrid energy generating system in La Muela
Minimising diesel consumption: Gamesa’s prototype hybrid energy generating system in La Muela

Designed for locations such as islands, mines and rural areas, and with a combined installed capacity of over 2 MW, the company says its system enables the provision of cheaper and cleaner power to communities without a grid connection. The system allows the ad-hoc combination of each of the technologies installed, depending on requirements, with the ultimate goal of generating sufficient power while minimising diesel consumption.

Ignacio Martín, Chairman of Gamesa, commented: “At present, more than 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity. Rural areas of India, South-east Asia, Africa, islands such as Haiti, Indonesia and the Philippines, and other remote corners of the planet, such as jungles and deserts, stand to benefit from these off-grid solutions which can generate cheaper and cleaner power”.

“Development of this class of technology is expected to reach 1,200 MW in the coming years,” added Gamesa’s David Mesonero.

Editor’s comment: Combining several diverse energy sources together with storage theoretically allows the maximum use of the renewable elements, and consequently minimum use of diesel. Such hybrids depend primarily on effective control systems to effectively integrate the various elements. That Gamesa is using a proprietary system suggests a new avenue of development for traditional equipment manufacturers.

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