Faial is one of 9 islands in the Azores, which is a Portugese archipelago between Europe and North America. This island currently relies on a 17 MW microgrid to supply about 15,000 people with power. As part of a goal to increase the island’s electricity production by about 25% — without having too much of an impact on the environment or the island’s tourism appeal — 5 wind turbines were recently installed there.
However, due to the fact that Faial is on a microgrid (a very small, localized power grid), grid stability was a concern, so the local utility company, Electricidade dos Açores (EDA), decided to also use a system provided by ABB that controls the wind turbines and the grid’s oil-fired power plants in such a way that grid stability is constantly maintained, while minimizing the fuel consumption of the oil-fired generators.
“This is an important function as the intermittency associated with wind energy can cause frequency and voltage fluctuations that can destabilize the microgrid, and in extreme cases even lead to power disruptions and blackouts,” noted Claudio Facchin, head of ABB’s Power Systems division.
“The integration of wind energy combined with ABB’s innovative solution will save an estimated 3.5 million liters of fuel per year enough for a car to travel about 2,300 times around the world. This has the potential to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by around 9,400 tons.”
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