Wärtsilä had received the contract for the Bonaire project in fourth quarter 2018

21June - Wartsila

Image: GEMS will balance resources and seamlessly optimise thermal, wind and energy storage assets. Photo: Courtesy of Greensmith Energy, a Wärtsilä company.

Finnish technology provider Wärtsilä announced the commissioning of its 6MW/6MWh energy management and storage system project for ContourGlobal Bonaire on the Caribbean island of Bonaire.

Wärtsilä said that it had received the contract for the Bonaire project in fourth quarter 2018 and has completed phase one A within few months.

Following the completion of phase one, the island has nearly doubled renewable energy penetration, and prepared the system for additional capacity to accommodate peak demand during tourist season.

ContourGlobal has employed Greensmith GEMS advanced software platform to manage and operate the entire island grid.

Commissioning of the project is expected to help Bonaire achieve its 100% renewable target.

The project marks the start of a longer-term plan to fully modernise the island’s system and add additional capacity and renewable energy generation to the grid.

Wärtsilä said that the phased approach of the utility provides time for system operators to add new hybrid solutions and offers space for new technologies to come online.

Phase one involves GEMS managing an optimising dispatch and operation of existing generation assets, to provide spinning reserve requirement with energy storage to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

In addition, phase one also involves unlocking curtailed wind energy and improved system reliability by providing frequency and voltage control. To optimise the system GEMS now factors in real-time asset performance, as well as load and renewable energy forecasts.

Wärtsilä energy business Latin America North and the Caribbean regional director Sampo Suvisaari said: “A big hurdle for utilities today is figuring out where to begin when it comes to modernising traditional thermal-based systems to allow the integration of more renewable generation assets without compromising reliability. Bonaire provides a real-time case study for how it can be done in a phased approach.”

The Bonaire project will replace outdated thermal technology in the next phase

The next phases for the Bonaire project is expected to replace outdated thermal technology with five new engines and add more wind and solar to the generation mix. With the increase in size of the island grid, GEMS would enable further renewable penetration and lower the cost of energy.

ContourGlobal Caribbean assets COO Giorgio Narminio said: “During our commissioning tests, several load rejections were tested, including loss of wind, loss of engines and loss of demand, and in every circumstance GEMS instantaneously tracked and maintained the quality of the generation avoiding the load shedding of the grid.

“This is just one example of how this project will improve operations through automation while helping the island avoid blackouts, achieve greater efficiencies and use more wind power.”