Caribbean island aims for independence1 May 2007
EcoPower Bonaire BV, a consortium of Econcern, Enercon and MAN, has signed a contract with the Water and Energy Company of Bonaire to build a new wind turbine. This machine, due to start supplying electricity in the second quarter of 2007, is the first phase of a wind/diesel project that will supply the South Caribbean island of Bonaire with 10 MW from wind and 13 MW from diesel. The island requires about 12 MW at peak times. The system will be able to provide the whole island with electricity by the end of 2008 and is expected to drive energy prices down while at the same time reducing Bonaire’s dependence on a fluctuating oil price.
The cost of the wind/diesel combination will be about 35-40 million dollars and it is hoped that some of this will be recoverable via CO2 credits.
Dirk Berkhout, member of the board of Econcern, said “the main objective of the first phase of the project is to gain experience with wind energy on Bonaire and to reduce short-term electricity costs.” EcoPower intends to install a new Enercon E33 wind turbine at Sorobon on the southeast coast of the island. An obsolete Nedwind turbine, which has not been operational for the last 10 years, will be removed. The Sorobon site is considered to be the ideal location for the new wind turbine, with its favourable climate conditions and the existing grid connection.
The next phase – to be completed in the third quarter of 2008 – will involve the construction of the 10 MW wind farm and the 13 MW diesel power plant. The wind farm (11 or 12 turbines) will be built on the north east coast of Bonaire, the windward side of the island.
The wind farm design will be based on measurements recorded by a Met mast that was installed in January.
The new 13 MW diesel power plant will be built by MAN at the BOPEC site. The plant will be equipped to burn both conventional diesel and biofuels.
When the complete wind/diesel installation, to be developed, owned and operated by Ecopower Bonaire, is up and running about 40% of the island’s total power requirement will come from wind. The remainder will be supplied with fuel oil. If this were biofuel, it is conceivable that by 2010 Bonaire could get all its electricity from renewable sources, said Berkhout.
Econcern (www.econcern.com) is the holding company of the European companies Ecofys, Evelop, Ecostream and Ecoventures, who describe their mission as ensuring ‘a sustainable energy supply for everyone.’
Visualisation of wind turbines on Bonaire