Bonaire Carribean Island, Netherland

Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Bonaire Carribean Island, renewable energy in Bonaire Carribean Island.

Bonaire is a tiny Carribean Island which is located 80 km from the north of Venezuela coast (Figure 1). It's a B island of Netherland's ABC islands, along with Aruba (A island) and Curacao (C island). Bonaire is a plantation island and salt producer (Figure 2). The island attacks a modest number of tourism mainly drivers drawn to its outstanding marine environment and strives toward environmental protection and conservation. With population 12,000 persons, Bonaire's peak electricity demand is approximately 12 MW. Currently, it served by a set of rented container (light fuel) diesel gen-sets with a rate capacity of 12 MW.[1]

Figure 1. Location of Bonaire Carribean Island[2]

Figure 2. Bonaire's salt flats, where algae and bacteria color pools of evaporating sea water[3]

Bonaire Claimed to be the First 100% sustainable island in the World
Bonaire as a part of the Netherland Antilles (Figure 3), has claimed that they will be the first 100% sustainable island in the world. The representative of the island "the Cacao Pearl" claimed they have created "the world's first nonprofit and luxury eco-resort community to commit 100% of operating profits to environmental protection and social improvements." The island will feature zero-carbon designer homes, an organic bar, wreck and reef diving, and a secluded destination spa. They are now in the midst of installing a 11MW wind farm, 14MW biodiesel plant and a 3.5MW backup battery.[4]

Figure 3. Bonaire Beach[11]

In the 2007, a contract to build a combine wind bio diesel system has been signed.[5] The island government, agreed to a multi-faceted project to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel energy by developing an energy system "wind bio diesel system".[6] They hope that their commitment to alternative energy will attract environmentally minded tourist.[4]

Wind bio diesel system
This system is comprising 13 wind turbines and a bio diesel power plant.[5] The project includes construction of an 10 MW wind farm, a 13 MW bio diesel plant, and a 2.5 MW backup battery. This project is designed to meet the island's electricity needs for the next 15 years.[9] It will transform today's largely fossil fuel-based energy supply infrastructure on the island into one based on the application of 100% sustainable energy sources within five years.[7]

Two Project Stages
The project comprises two distinct implementation stages spread over 2007 and 2009. The first stage has been installed in 2007.[10] The second stage is planed to be completed in the end of 2009.[8]

In 2007, as part of phase one, a 33 kW Enercon E-33 wind turbine at Sorobon on the southeast coast of Bonaire has been completed (Figure 4). This new installation replaces an obsolete former NedWind turbine that had not been operated since 1996. The Sorobon site is chosen due to favorable wind climate, very stable wind conditions, and an average wind speed of about 9.1 m/s. The existing grid cable connection has sufficient capacity to accommodate one medium-size wind turbine. This turbine was commissioned in the May of that year. The main objective of this first project phase is to gain experience with wind energy and to reduce electricity cost in short term. During the first month, the turbine performed beyond expectation.[10] With the new system, the cost will be lower than the cost of the present fossil fuels based system.[5] Besides, through supplying clean electricity to the island, local staff will be trained to master the skills for the long-time in maintaining the Enercon type, direct drive (gearless) turbines.[10]

Figure 4. Wind turbine pilot project[3]

The second phase of this project is scheduled to be completed in the end of 2009.[8] The next 12 new wind turbines (990 kW)[7] will be built on the north-east coast of Bonaire, the windward side of the island (Figure 5). Each turbine can produce 0.8 - 0.9 MW. The new bio diesel power plant (13 MW) will be constructed at the northwest corner of Bonaire, in the near of BOPEC site.[7] The wind farm will comprise either 11 x 900 kW E-44 (rotor diameter 44 meters) or 12 x 800 kW E-48 (rotor diameter 48 meters) turbines. Each wind turbine is expected to operate at a high capacity factor, with some 3000-3500 full load hours annually.[10]

Figure 5. Stand of foundation of wind farm[3]

Bio diesel from salt water algae
By the end 2009, the system will consist of 12 wind turbines and a bio diesel generator. It will produce 75,000 MWh per year.[9] In the beginning, the plant will burn fossil diesel. The system will reduce CO2 emission by an estimated 35,000 tones per year. The first experiment with bio diesel from algae were being carried out.[8] They are conducted a feasibility study into the entire bio diesel from algae process chain, an analysis that includes overall economics for several options. Bonaire has a number of large salt flats, which is suitable for growing salt water algae. Bio diesel production derived from algae offers the highest yields per unit of mass of all plants.[10] The expectation is the plant will start to burn bio diesel after two or three years of operation.[5] After fossil diesel has been switched to bio fuel, it is estimated CO2 emission reduced will rise to 70,000 tones.[8]

Load Balancing
With the wind penetration level 40%, and considering some massive scale of the wind system, some load load balancing and other control difficulties that may be occurred should be solved. As there are no alternative supply systems, such as cable to the Venezuelan mainland, in the event of failure, a 2.5 battery system will be installed to optimize the wind contribution and to improve the grid quality.[9]

After the completed wind-diesel combination, their system will be the biggest wind-diesel plant in the world.[10] The wind farm, ideally will able to meet all the current demands of Bonaire for electricity.[8] The bio diesel generator will ensure grid stability during periods of low wind speeds.[9] By the end 2009, 44% of the island's energy should be produced by the wind farm and 56% would be produced by bio diesel generator.[11]

Diesel fuel and its transportation is expensive. This results high electricity cost for the island's consumer population. The cost of Bonaire's wind-diesel system is approximately US$55 million. It is expected that this part of investment can be covered by means of CO2 credits. After the wind-diesel system is fully operational in 2009, electricity generation cost will go down. Power consumers on Bonaire will be among the main beneficiaries. They can look forward to a 10 - 20% reduction of their electricity bills. Second, the island's dependence on highly fluctuating and rising oil prices will be substantially reduced. The combination of bio energy production, the wind turbines and diesel plant will finally give a major local employment boost to the island's population. And by 2012, it is conceivable that Bonaire will get all of its electrical energy from natural, and clean renewable sources.[10]

Buffer zone as the location of the diesel plant-Pro and contra
Until the process is finalized, however, the generator will run on petroleum-based diesel. But the government is confident enough that the new diesel generator will burn algae - derived bio diesel within five years after the diesel plant's slated completion in 2010. Some residents and environmental groups are skeptical, that bio-fuel will be used. The reasons are there is unproven nature of producing oil from algae and there is no existing commercial algae farms anywhere. The fact, the location of the diesel generators far from potential algae farms but close to the BOPEC (Bonaire Petroleum Company) oil terminal.[11]

The placement of the diesel plant raises other serious concern as well. The diesel site was chosen arbitrary by the government, in the buffer zone of flamingo breeding ground that has been designated as a wetlands of international importance (Figure 6). It is also borders Bonaire's marine reserve. But despite the site ecological sensitivity, an environmental impact assessment hasn't been done. Bonaire has very limited natural resources, one small disaster can hit two of the most delicate ecosystems on the island. With algae they can generate some income than tourism. They also can be self sufficient. Some residents and environmental groups said that they can scream and make noise in the press about it, but they can do nothing about it.[11]

Figure 6. Flamingo in the buffer zone area of wetland, one of several important flamingo breeding and breeding grounds on Bonaire[3]

Information Related

List of References
  1. Bonaire Caribbean's First 100% Renewable Energy Island. Accessed November 7, 2009.
  2. Bonaire. Accessed April 24, 2010.
  3. Bonaire's Breezy Future. Accessed November 7, 2009.
  4. Bonaire Claims to be First Sustainable Island in the Carribean. Accessed November 7, 2009.
  5. Bonaire Caribbean's First Island to Fully Rely on Sustainable Electricity. Accessed April 18, 2010.
  6. Bonaire Strives for 100% Sustainable Energy. Accessed November 7, 2009.
  7. Easy as ABC? Bonaire Set to Become Caribbean's First Island with 100% Renewable Energy. Accessed November 7, 2009.
  8. Bonaire Strives toward Becoming First Caribbean Island Powered by Total Sustainable Energy. Accessed November 7, 2009.
  9. Bonaire Deal Brings Caribbean Island Closer to Sustainable Energy Future. Accessed 18, 2010.
  10. Bonaire Set to Become Caribbean's First Island with 100% Renewable Energy. Accessed November 7, 2009.
  11. First 100% Sustainable Island in the Caribbean. Accessed November 7, 2009.