Tucked away in the Micronesia region of the Pacific Ocean is the small Republic of Palau, boasting a population of just over 20,000. The country will nevertheless soon be home to what is believed to be the world’s largest microgrid consisting of solar, diesel, and energy storage, representing at least 45% of the island nation’s total demand.
While the microgrid has been in development for some time, the Republic of Palau this week announced the signing of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with ENGIE EPS, a worldwide microgrid and energy storage pioneer which will complete the project.
The ARMONIA microgrid will consist of a dispatchable solar PV project made up of 35 megawatt (MW) solar solar plant and 45 MW-hour (MWh) of electricity storage, which will be connected to the island’s current diesel generation system. On its own, the solar component will account for 45% of Palau’s total electricity demand. Many island nations such as Palau are reliant upon diesel-powered electricity, but this new 100 MW microgrid will incorporate renewable energy and energy storage to create a smart and integrated system — the largest microgrid in the world, according to ENGIE EPS, and a potential demonstration for other island nations.
“In the midst of the global energy transition, it is imperative that we address climate mitigation and climate adaption – at the same time,” said Palau President Tommy Remengesau. “As we reduce our carbon footprint, so too should we reduce the vulnerabilities of our energy infrastructure in the face of rising seas and natural disasters. As we generate cleaner energy, it must also be reliable, accessible, and economical for those citizens of the world who live on the front-lines of climate change. Our partnership with ENGIE has accelerated Palau’s transition toward a renewable and resilient future.”
Palau committed to a 45% renewable energy target by 2025 in the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement and committed to a 22% reduction in its energy sector emissions below 2005 levels. The ARMONIA microgrid will set the country up to achieve its energy goals more than five years ahead of schedule.
ARMONIA — Italian for “harmony” — is expected to begin construction by the end of the year and be completed and commissioned before the end of 2019.
“This 100 MW microgrid will not be just one of the largest storage-enabled solar projects in the world but also a pioneering showcase for the whole global energy sector,” said Carlalberto Guglielminotti, CEO and General Manager of ENGIE EPS.
“Universal, affordable and reliable access to clean energy will be a reality in Palau in few months, and we have the ambition and the commitment to replicate this model all over the world thanks to ENGIE EPS technology and ENGIE Group global reach” added Paul Maguire, President & CEO ENGIE Asia Pacific.