Endesa and the Canary Islands Technological Institute (ITC), which is part of the Department of Employment, Industry and Trade of the Regional Government of the Canary Islands, have signed a collaboration agreement to develop a smart grid in La Graciosa, in order to achieve greater energy efficiency and the highest use of the renewable energy sources on this island off the coast of Lanzarote, thus making it a sustainable island.
With the agreement signed by the Minister of Employment, Industry and Trade of the Regional Government of the Canary Islands, Margarita Ramos; the Managing Director of Endesa for the Canary Islands, Pablo Casado; the Chief Executive of the ITC, Nicolás Díaz; and the Director of Distribution in the Canary Islands, Javier Sánchez, the general framework has been defined to begin work on making this small island self-sufficient in terms of energy, thus reducing its dependence upon the island of Lanzarote.
The objective is to develop a clean energy supply solution for La Graciosa, using a smart micro grid in equipment used in distributed generation, energy storage, active and passive demand management, a reliable wind and solar prediction system, smart meters enabling remote management, electric car recharge systems, etc, and everything that might make the island self-sustainable in terms of energy, in a feasible and efficient way.
This proposal shall be included in promoting activities for developing renewable energies as part of the European Pact of the Islands initiative: the idea is to help these islands achieve the EC’s 20-20-20 target (20% renewable energies, 20% improvement in energy efficiency and 20% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020).
The La Graciosa micro grid project will allow ITC and Endesa to continue to forge ahead and consolidate knowledge in this area (micro grids and smart grids with high penetration of renewable energies), an area of interesting potential for the Canary Islands in its search for more sustainable clean energy supply solutions which can help the islands become self-sufficient.
La Graciosa is the only inhabited island in the Chinijo Archipelago which also includes Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este and Roque del Oeste, all of which form part of the largest marine reserve in Europe and a area of breathtaking natural beauty.
Endesa and smart grids
Endesa has been working towards the development and roll out of smart grids for many years. One example is the project for the island of El Hierro and other grids which are a cornerstone in the development of the smartcities in Malaga and Barcelona.
Smartcity Malaga was the first Smartcity to be developed by Endesa in 2009, with the collaboration of 11 companies, 14 research centres and five official bodies, which benefited 300 industrial customers, 900 service companies and 12,000 domestic customers, and which has become a benchmark worldwide in terms of an energy management model in large cities. This project will cut energy consumption by 20% and prevent the emission of 6,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. In 2011, Endesa announced the development of Smartcity Barcelona, which, in its initial phase, would reach 50,000 domestic customers, and which would then be extended to the entire city, with planned investment of Euro 100 million. Furthermore, Endesa has exported this model to Latin America and is rolling out another smart city (Cidade Inteligente Búzios) in Armação dos Búzios, in Brazil.
The ITC and distributed generation
The ITC conducts several lines of research relating to electricity smart grids, micro grids and the new pattern of distributed generation (focused on domestic renewable energies). Work carried out at the ITC Distributed Generation Laboratory in Pozo Izquierdo is geared towards developing small-scale generation solutions with renewable energy systems positioned close to consumption points, thereby preventing losses in energy transmission and overloads in electrical grids. Micro grids are extremely important where there is a high penetration of renewable energies and in island systems which typically have small and weak electrical grids.
The ITC’s activity is currently focused on assessing new approaches in the control of distributed electricity systems and developing their "intelligence" (communication protocols with the aim of improving management and control strategies through ICTs). The Institute is working on sun and wind climate prediction models and on energy storage systems which can be incorporated in microgrids.