Renewable Energy System Design and Evaluation: A Case Study
Keywords:Renewable energy, Hybrid system, Cost of electricity, Subsidy, Energy audit
Due to the Paris Agreement and efforts of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change towards stabilising global Greenhouse Gas Concentrations, countries are becoming receptive to the need for an energy transition. From a holistic sustainability viewpoint, this includes a renewable energy mix in power generation sectors. For early adopters like Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), it is important that analysis be conducted to investigate how renewable energy (RE) can be optimally integrated into the current energy mix. This paper considers the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s Camden Campus, located in Couva as the study site. Though the study is specific to this site, the methodology, analysis, and conclusions are transferable to other similar sites. This study uses the Homer Pro Software to design, simulate, and optimize a hybrid PV-Wind energy system (using the least cost objective function). Given the electricity rates of the country, the “as is” case was the most cost-effective, excluding renewable energy penetration and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. The base case with a subsidised electricity cost of US$ 0.05 per kWh, was found to use approximately 884,854 kWh at an annual cost of US$ 44,243 and associated CO2 emissions of 559,226 kg. At this present subsidized cost of electricity, the RE systems were seen to be uneconomical, with the subsidised grid price being more competitive. At an estimated unsubsidized price of US$ 0.12 per kWh applicable to T&T, the optimally designed RE system at the campus would still be uneconomical and the cost at which such a system makes economic sense was US$ 0.15 per kWh (with a 10% RE penetration). Using a regional average unsubsidized cost of US$ 0.22 per kWh, the RE system became more economical, with a larger RE penetration of 36.2% and corresponding CO2 savings of 222,328 kg per year.
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