100 % Sustainable La Gomera: Decarbonisation through Distributed Generation and Renewable Energy Microgrids

La Gomera is the third smallest island of the Canary Archipelago (Spain). It has 64 dispersed populational nuclei, a 21 MW thermal power station (diesel) and a 20 kV distribution network. Instead of proposing a centralised (renewable) electricity generation model for the decarbonisation of the island, like it has been done on El Hierro with its successful Wind – Pumped Hydro Storage Power Station, the roadmap for La Gomera´s transition to 100% renewable energy is based on a distributed generation approach.

Besides ongoing private sector initiatives, the current plan (“100% sustainable La Gomera”) promoted by the public authorities and the technological partner ITC consists in a combination of intelligent selfconsumption, innovative hybrid systems and microgrids (that are to be integrated as “energy communities”), which are being located at emblematic sites for further replication.

The challenge of integrating distributed renewable energies, especially in island systems, must be overcome by trying to generate new business models, encouraging the participation of citizens and, on the other hand, providing the distributed generation systems of capacities that allow support in the operation of the electrical networks to which they are connected.

6 pilot projects are being carried out by ITC. Two of them are almost completed:

  • Intelligent PV self-consumption system with battery storage at Cabildo´s main building (no grid injection; 80 kW / 68 kWh), with the ability to receive operation and control instructions from the network operator, which allows dispatch of active and reactive power and voltage at the connection point. The system also allows optimising the energy cost of the building, through an energy management system based on predictions of energy generation, demand and grid prices, with the aim of optimising battery charging and discharging times. Furthermore, a demand management system is foreseen to charge the Cabildo’s electric vehicles in the most economically efficient way.
  • PV system with battery storage and intelligent energy management in Alojera (generation system for grid injection or stand-alone operation; 250 kW / 600 kWh). The technology incorporated in this plant allows different control modes (e.g. increasing the percentage of solar self-consumption or prioritising the sale of energy to the market) and provides complementary services to the distribution network operator. This generation system will be the heart of the future energy community of Alojera.