Frank Kling, ETAP director of business development in North America described the growing sophistication of the Aruba grid at the fifth annual Microgrids West conference, which was held last week in Santa Rosa, CA., hosted by Active Communications International.
The next solar project for the island may be an airport microgrid, Kling notes. Aruba’s plan includes building new solar and wind farms, waste-to-energy conversion, and enhanced energy efficiency. Aruba already sources about 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
With a heavy dependance on imported fuel oil for its energy needs, Aruba’s utility rates are approximately $0.28 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), below the Caribbean regional average of $0.33/kWh, NREL reported recently.
WEB Aruba is the power generation company on the island, and N.V. Elmar is the distribution company; both are government owned by Utilities Aruba.
An energy demand reduction program is underway as the government continues to upgrade all public lighting with energy-efficient LED technology. Because 50% of Aruba’s energy demand comes from cooling, the utility installed a pilot ice storage cooling system that makes ice at night when electricity costs are lower. The ice is then used the following day to cool buildings instead of traditional air conditioning, NREL reports.
ETAP, which released the latest 16.0 version of its software in November, provides a widely-used product for modeling, design, analysis, optimization, monitoring, control, and automation software for electrical power systems.