An Island’s Path to 100% Renewables

Interchange Podcast April 20, 2021

The grid of the future lies 850 miles off the coast of Portugal, on an island in the Azores called Graciosa.

The island has always been dependent on fossil fuels. But in 2018, that changed. That’s when a group of developers launched a hybrid wind-solar-battery storage power plant to slash diesel consumption. The plant consists of 1 megawatt of solar, 4.5 megawatts of wind, and a 6 megawatt/3.2 megawatt-hour energy storage system.

The hybrid plant has changed Graciosa’s energy mix. In 2020, there were 128 days when the island was entirely powered by renewable energy, which means, Graciosa is now saving 190,000 liters of diesel fuel per month.

In this Wood Mackenzie podcast, produced in collaboration with Wärtsilä, Graciolica Plant Manager, Duarte Conde Silva and Luke Witmer, a data scientist who manages R&D for Wärtsilä’s energy dispatch systems discuss the reasons behind renewable transition.

One of the reasons: a piece of control software installed by Wärtsilä, called GEMS. It uses machine learning to balance the renewables and storage on Graciosa’s grid with inputs from meters, heating and cooling systems, and weather forecasts.

Listen to learn more.