E8 San Cristobal Wind Project.

Detailed description of the project

Being one of the World Heritage Sites named by UNESCO, because of the unique ecosystems of the islands and the high percentage of endemic species, the Galapagos Islands, in Ecuador, were chosen for this project after the oil spill caused by the tanker Jessica in 2001. The spill shocked the international community and initiated the creation of the Galapagos Renewable Energy Project, with the objective of reducing the amount of fossil fuel required in the islands for electricity generation. It has to be taken into account that electricity generation represents the most important amount of fossil fuel consumed in the islands.

Considered to be one of the largest hybrid power plants in the world, the project was carried out under the supervision of E8 Companies (members of G8 countries) and local utility Elecgalápagos S.A. It was awarded after a transparent and competitive deal procedure, in which the MADE, together with Effergy and their Spanish partners become the providers of wind turbines, control system, automation of Wind+Diesel generation and technical management. Construction and logistics was committed to the local company SANTOS-CMI.

Services provided by the legal entity of the project

The project’s goal was to integrate three variable-speed MADE 800kW wind turbine generator (WTG) units into the San Cristobal Island power system, formerly supplied only by three Diesel generators, 650kW each. To achieve these purpose, several studies had were performed:
a) Preliminary Technical-Economic study to determine the optimal hybrid solution.
b) Previous system level analysis to determine the optimal wind turbine features for high penetration level in a weak isolated system.
c) Analysis of Diesel generators from the existing system, in order to determine how to reconfigure them, to benefit from automated controls.
d) Technical analysis of power electronics control adaptations to make wind turbines be able to work in an isolated weak system.
e) A control system solution was designed by Effergy to dispatch the wind turbines and diesel generators in hybrid mode, ensuring adequate power supply and quality to meet San Cristobal’s demand for electricity.
f) Testing bench design and construction in factory, to simulate extreme transient and steady state conditions in order to minimize future undesired behavior in field, and control tunning.
g) Commissioning and Field tests and validation.
The proposed solution made it possible:
to maximize the integration of renewable energy into the grid,
reducing at the same time both fossil fuel consumption and environmental impact, allowing more than 30% average of fuel consumption to be replaced by renewable energy.