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Wind-Hydrogen-Diesel on Ramea Island
The Wind-Hydrogen-Diesel Energy Project in Ramea is a demonstration project that uses renewable energy to supplement the diesel requirements of an electrically isolated island community. It involves the combination of hydrogen production, storage and electricity generation technologies with wind generation technology and diesel generation technology. The project will allow wind power to be used to produce and store hydrogen. The hydrogen will then be used later to produce electricity through an internal combustion hydrogen generator.
The system is made up of the following components:
- Control System - This must be compatible with each component’s control system and with the existing wind-diesel control system
- Wind Turbines - It is planned that the project will add three new wind turbines to supplement the existing ones. This wind capacity will contribute towards the goal of meeting 100% of the Island’s electrical demand with clean sources in certain circumstances
- Hydrogen Electrolyzer and Storage - A hydrogen electrolyzer will convert the electricity generated by the wind turbines into hydrogen which will be stored at the site in vessels
- Hydrogen Powered Generator - A 250 kW generator (consisting of internal combustion engines driving synchronous generators) will convert the stored hydrogen into electricity
The long-term goal of the project is to make this renewable energy storage solution economically viable for 21 remote communities within Nalcor Energy’s operation as well as other remote, diesel-powered communities across Canada and around the world. The project is unique in that it is the only known wind-hydrogen-diesel project in the world with a focus on energy supply for remote communities that are integrated into an isolated electrical system.
While the project was commissioned in 2011, it has recently not been operating at full capacity. A CBC News posting from June 2018 reported that the wind turbines were being used very infrequently. Nalcor, the owner of the project, stated to CBC that there were issues with the storage aspect of the project, which had led to the equipment being operated at less than full capacity. Furthermore, Nalcor noted that by 2014/15, it had reiprioritized its efforts to addressing reliability issues on the island's electricity grid.