Wind energy advances in Dominican Republic

From 2016 the Dominican Republic began a different process of generating electricity, since this year is when new sources of electricity generation dependent on renewable natural resources begin to join the National Interconnected Electricity System (SENI), as ordered by objective number seven of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks to ensure affordable, safe, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Although the country has been experiencing energy production from an unconventional source for 74 years, with the inauguration of the Central Inoa hydroelectric plant in 1945, which was followed by the Ocoa Power Plant and the Constanza Hydroelectric Power Plant in 1953, both with a power of 250 kilowatts , it was for the year 2016 when the DR took the step towards another source of clean energy generation, with the opening of the first photovoltaic power plant, Monte Plata Solar, which would provide 30 megawatts in its initial phase, but that would achieve a consolidated installed capacity of 60 megawatts to the electrical system.

“The plant had an investment of US $ 110 million and was built by the Taiwanese company General Energy Solution in partnership with the Soventix Phanes Group.”

Three years after the country took this great step, with its largest clean energy project and also the largest in the Caribbean region at that time, investments in renewable energy-dependent energy projects have been increasing, so Today the Dominican Republic has sources of electricity production, in addition to solar and water, dependent on biomass and air or wind, which in addition to contributing more to the national system, have helped diversify the electricity matrix .

According to this year’s data from the National Energy Commission (CNE), the country has 26 hydroelectric plants located in different provinces, in addition to nine wind-based generators, one of biomass and two solar.

Last year the Montecristi Solar and Larimar II Wind Farm projects were inaugurated, which provided 106.26 megawatts of clean energy to SENI. These investments in clean energy have caused the generation of conventional energy to significantly reduce its contribution to the electrical system. In 2018, the electricity generation matrix was composed of: 38.1% of petroleum products, 32.9% of natural gas, 13% coal, 11.2% water, 3.1% wind, 1.3% biomass and 0.5% sun, according to the Association Dominican Electric Industry (ADIE).

16% of the SENI generation matrix in 2018 came from renewable energies, with 2,525.77 gigawatt-hours (Gwh), the ADIE report states: “Renewables continue to increase contributions to the matrix,” January-June 2019.
Ensures that in the first half of this year, renewable energy sources contributed 1,066.98 Gwh to the SENI, since wind power electricity generated 378.62 Gwh; that of sun 78.56 Gwh; 109.00 Gwh biomass and 500.80 hydroelectric. If the generators of natural gas (2,416.25 Gwh), coal (1,327.19 Gwh) and the petroleum derivative (3,433.41 Gwh) are added there was a total of 8,243.83 Gwh in the first six months of the year.

Advance installed capacity. According to the National Energy Commission, in generation based on primary unconventional renewable energy sources, to the installed capacity, which was 301 MW in 2018, 257.3 MW were added in this year, for a total of 558.3 ??MW , which represents 11.5% of the currently installed capacity (4,850 MW) with the entry into operation of the projects: Aguas Claras wind farm with 50 MW, in the province of Montecristi, the Matafongo wind farm with 34 MW, in Baní, El Guanillo wind farm with 50 MW, also in Montecristi, Mata de Palma Solar Photovoltaic Park with 50 MW, located in the municipality of Guerra, the Los Guzmancitos wind farm with 48.3 MW, in the province of Puerto Plata and in Canoa Photovoltaic Solar Park with 25 MW, in Barahona.
The generation by primary source of non-conventional renewable energy (wind, solar, Biomass) went from a percentage of 1.0% in 2012 to 6.20% at the end of this year 2019. In self-production initiatives, under the measurement mechanism or program Net (PMN) the Dominican Republic increased from 93.02 MW of installed capacity in 2018 to 125.88 MW in 2019.

Investment at the end of 2019. Investment in large-scale renewable energy sources projects amounts to an amount above US $ 530.00 MM this year, reports the CNE.

On the agenda to track progress in renewable. By the end of the year 2020, the construction and entry into operation of two projects are expected: Jasper Wind Farm of 50 MW of installed capacity, with an investment of approximately US $ 107.3 MM and the Bayasol Solar Park (AES-Bayasol) with 62.3 MWp ( 50 MWn) with an investment amounting to approximately US $ 60.00 MM, says the commission.

He informed that there are currently 30 applications for large commercial projects and are being analyzed. If these 30 applications were approved, more than 1,300 megawatts of energy would be injected into the system by renewable sources.

“The call for bids / auctions is expected for new power generation plants (600 MW Natural Gas and 400 MW non-conventional renewable energy). This tender is carried out by the three distribution companies in coordination with the Dominican Corporation of State Electric Companies (CDEEE) ”, they indicate.

The construction and commissioning of a 50-kilometer gas pipeline, with an investment of more than US $ 100.00 MM will allow, in the national electricity system, the conversion of 750 megawatts of generation units located on the East Coast that currently operate with petroleum derivatives and that they will be ready in the first half of 2020 to operate with natural gas.

Transmission network, challenge has country. In spite of the advances in the production of energy from renewable sources, the most important challenge that the country has, from the regulatory and operational point of view regarding renewable energy, is in the transmission network, according to the director of the CNE, Angel Canó.

He said that in the Dominican Republic the optimal location of resources for this type of energy is not close to the charging centers.

“In the studies that have been done of where the solar and wind potentials are, we find that they are quite far and complicated for the transmission network process,” he explained.