Development of Renewable energy on Islands

Traditionally renewable energy applications have a positive business case on smaller islands, because transportation costs are high. In addition, islands are particularly exposed to the consequences of global warming and many island communities strive to serve as an example in the fight against climate change.

 

Recent development in the renewable energy sector:

  • falling prices in both solar and wind (solar panel price decrease by 75% during 3 years)
  • proven track record and excellent reliability (big renewable energy plants are technically considered as low-risk by institutional investors)
  • development of technical solutions for the integration of diesel and renewable energy
  • considerable number of solar and wind pilot projects on islands

Biggest obstacles: financing and penetration:

  • many islands are so cash constraint that they do not have the financial means to invest
  • the renewable energy costs are generally estimated as higher than they are
  • energy is not considered as a core competence for island decision-makers
  • technical penetration of many renewable energy systems is not judged as very high ( maximum percentage of renewable energy that still guarantees a reliable electricity generation at different sun / wind conditions)

Many of these bottlenecks actually do not reflect the reality today. There are solutions for external financing such as rental or power providers selling the energy to the island off-takers. On the technical side improvements of diesel generators will improve penetration as well as enhancements of hybrid controlling units.

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