With the cost of diesel continuing to rise and the cost of solar PV continuing to fall, the economics of renewable energy for islands, where diesel generation has been the norm, continue to improve. Island utilities and governments wishing to incorporate renewable energy into their mix want to know just how high they can go. Is it possible to reach the elusive 100% renewable energy goal that would remove the need for diesel fuel at all?
HOMER Energy CEO Dr. Peter Lilienthal authored an article on high penetration renewable energy for islands in Power Engineering magazine back in 2007, and it’s even more timely today. The original article is here, and you can download a PDF version here.
It is possible to get to very high penetrations of renewable energy, but doing it economically and maintaining stability requires some careful thought. The HOMER software is an essential part of the process for island energy planning.