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Published on August 16th, 2018 | by Steve Hanley


Energy Storage Brings Benefits Of Renewable Energy To Islands of Molokai & Isles Of Scilly

August 16th, 2018 by  

The islands of the world all offer spectacular ocean vistas — they are islands, after all — but they also share a common scourge. Bereft of natural resources, most of them rely on diesel generators for electricity. That means electricity is expensive and the skies over those pristine locations are filled with carbon dioxide and other emissions that are harmful to the environment and human health.

Renewables like solar and wind power are ideal for these remote locations but suffer from a common drawback. Without a way to store the electricity made during the day or windy weather, the electricity they make is subject to voltage and frequency fluctuations. And when the sun doesn’t shine or the winds don’t blow, renewables aren’t much help.

Molokai Says Yes To Battery Storage

The Hawaiian island of Molokai has a population of under 10,000 people but some of the most expensive electricity in the world at 36 cents per kWh. This week, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved a 22-year power purchase agreement with Maui Electric to buy energy for the island of Molokai from a solar-plus-storage system at half that rate — 18 cents per kWh.

Under the terms of the agreement, Molokai New Energy Partners will build a 4.88 MW solar power plant on leased land on the island. The project will include a 3 MW, 15 MWh lithium ion battery storage system to keep the electricity flowing after dark. The battery system means locals can use rooftop solar during the day and stored electricity at night.

Scheduled for completion next year according to Utility Dive, the project will provide the island with about half of its electrical needs and will play a major role in reaching Hawaii’s goal of using 100% renewable power by 2045.

Battery Storage For Isles Of Scilly

28 miles out in the Celtic Sea from the southwest tip of England, the Isles of Scilly — a group of rocky outcroppings that include 5 inhabited islands — also suffer from the curse of making electricity from fossil fuels. A group called Smart Islands will now use those islands to test battery storage systems that will bring the benefits of renewable energy to the residents of Old Grimsby and other tourist hot spots.

In cooperation with Hitachi and Moixa, the $13 million project includes the installation of rooftop solar systems linked to residential storage batteries in virtual power plant scenario. More efficient home heating and electric cars are also part of the program.

The system is expected to slash utility bills for island residents by 40% while providing nearly half of the islands’ electrical needs from renewables. It will also lower atmospheric pollution substantially. “Smart Energy Islands will provide a model to energy system operators around the world and demonstrate how clean technologies can help deliver new low carbon networks, while also making energy more affordable and accessible,” according to the organization.

The lessons learned on the Isles of Scilly will help move the renewable energy revolution forward worldwide, and there is nothing silly about that. 
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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. His motto is, "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away!" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

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