Main content area

Renewable energy potential analysis in non-interconnected islands. Case study: Isla Grande, Corales del Rosario Archipelago, Colombia

Aguirre-Mendoza, Andrés Miguel, Díaz-Mendoza, Claudia, Pasqualino, Jorgelina
Ecological engineering 2019 v.130 pp. 252-262
biodiversity, case studies, coral reefs, electricity, energy, generators (equipment), islands, meteorology, national parks, remote sensing, sediment transport, solar collectors, solar radiation, surveys, villages, water power, wind power, wind speed, Colombia
Energy supply is one of the most critical problems that affect small and remote islands economic and social development. Alternative energy solutions are promising and favorable for small island purposes as they can be used in small-scale applications. In Colombia, most of the island territories lack energy access, and specific solutions need to be implemented for electricity supply. The Corales del Rosario Archipelago (Colombian Caribe) is a National Park of ecological importance due to its biodiversity and coral reef formation. It consists of 27 islands, from which Isla Grande is the larger one, and concentrates the human settlements (such as the Orika village, with about 500 inhabitants) and touristic activities. In this paper, we explore the energy situation and renewable energy potential in small non-interconnected islands around the world, to later focus on Colombian non-interconnected islands. As a case study, we evaluate the energetic situation in Isla Grande, and propose how renewable energy solutions could be implemented in the island. Primary and secondary information were collected from surveys with the local community, and supported by bibliography, and include information regarding energy demand and supply, hydrology (wave, tidal and sediment transport regimes) and meteorology conditions that could influence renewable energy resources (wind and solar radiation). Land coverage maps were constructed from satellite images, and used to delimitate shadow and no-shadow regions. A typical local house was selected for the energy demand calculations (8.05 kWh/day) and to propose renewable energy solutions. The hydrology analysis confirms no potential for wave and tidal energy solutions, while wind speed regimes are also not favorable for wind power implementation. Solar photovoltaic energy is, however, a promising solution for this island, where some individuals already have solar systems for self-consumption, while others use diesel generators. Individual home solutions should require about 11.6 m2 photovoltaic panels, while a system that could provide electricity to the whole community should require about 1590 m2.