Promoting efficient renewable energy integration in the Pacific


IRENA held workshops on harmonised technical guidelines and grid stability assessment from 8-12 April in the Republic of Palau, to promote efficient renewable energy integration in the Pacific islands.  

The workshops provided technical training to policy makers, grid operators and utility experts on technical guidelines for solar photovoltaic (PV) installation, and the use of modelling tools to assess and ensure power grid stability with higher shares of renewable energy integration. The workshops were attended by about forty participants from eight North Pacific island states, and were organised in collaboration with the Pacific Power Association (PPA), Sustainable Energy Industry Association of the Pacific Island (SEIAPI), Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the North Pacific, African, Caribbean and Pacific Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (SPC North-REP).

The first workshop focused on technical guidelines for installing PV systems, based on international standards. These guidelines relate to the design and installation of both off-grid and grid-connected systems, with a focus on the safe, effective and durable installation of rooftop PV systems on islands. IRENA’s support for Pacific islands to adopt such guidelines and expand the PV market will continue in 2013 with further trainings and certification programmes.

The second workshop began with an explanation of the major technical factors affecting power grid stability on islands when higher shares of renewable energy are integrated. This was followed by a presentation of preliminary results from the pilot study undertaken in Palau by IRENA in collaboration with PPA. These results indicate that the island could expand its PV penetration to 30 percent of current maximum demand without any special control requirement in grid operations, owing to the high availability of spinning reserve from existing diesel units.  Finally, hands-on training with computerised modelling software was provided to island technicians. This training helps technicians to understand how to assess power grid stability and power quality with higher shares of renewable integration. 

IRENA will continue to showcase the potential for higher shares of renewable energy in island power grids. Within IRENA’s Global Renewable Energy Islands Network (GREIN), an interest cluster on renewable energy power grid integration on islands is being led by PPA Executive Director Andrew Daka, with participation by some twenty islands from around the world. In 2013 IRENA and the GREIN network will undertake grid stability assessments on four more islands around the world, including in the Pacific.