Transforming small-island power systems


January 2019
ISBN : 978-92-9260-074-7

Many of the world’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have started to integrate renewables into their electricity supply mix. The expected benefits include reducing dependency on costly, sometimes volatile fossil-fuel imports. But local utilities must also ensure reliable supply amid the shift to variable sources, such as solar and wind energy.

This guide from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) can assist in decision making and help to carry out successful technical planning studies on solar and wind integration into SIDS power systems.

How can utilities or regulators determine the levels of solar and wind power that an existing grid can accommodate, without major investments and within realistic operational limits? In the small-island setting, like in larger systems, thorough planning is necessary to overcome technical challenges and integrate these variable renewable energy (VRE) sources smoothly with existing grid infrastructure. Inadequate planning, conversely, can result in slower VRE deployment, the need for expensive retrofitting, in lower system reliability, and periodic curtailments in VRE production.

Highlights of the guide include:

  • Challenges associated with VRE integration in SIDS;
  • Planning, technical studies and implementation;
  • Solutions to overcome VRE integration challenges.

Key findings and advice are also available in the executive summary.