OVER YONDER CAY, Bahamas -- In mid‐2013, the microgrid at Over Yonder Cay in The Bahamas hit the major milestone of generating 1 million kWh of wind energy. That’s enough to power 89 average US homes for a year or one beautiful Bahamian resort. This also translates into saving more than 77,000 US gallons/291,000 liters of diesel per year, or eliminating more than 8,401 tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere every year.
The island’s comprehensive energy system now includes three Northern Power 100 kW wind turbines and a 1.5 acre 375 kW solar field. Two turbines were installed in October 2010 and the third turbine was added after the original two survived Hurricane Irene in August 2011. A battery bank adds 6 MWh of stored energy to the system to smooth the supply of energy to the island loads from the variable wind and solar sources. This battery has the capacity to power the island on its own for two days. If there is not enough wind or solar energy production for a prolonged period of time, diesel generators automatically start to provide 400kW of power to the island. Due to the ideal wind and solar conditions on Over Yonder Cay, these backup systems are rarely engaged.
The Energy of Renewal
The renewable energy system at Over Yonder Cay has proved very popular with guests of the exclusive island resort. It gives them peace of mind to know that all their activities are supported via an energy source that is not impacting the local or global environment.
“Since both solar and wind power installations have been achieving power grid cost parity, it is becoming more attractive than ever to install renewable energy systems on remote islands, as the cost of diesel is higher and the environment is more pristine,” said Pedro Monteiro, renewable energy engineer, Over Yonder Cay.
The 360 islands that make up the Exuma Cays enjoy near‐constant easterly trade winds with abundant sunny days, making it the perfect location for a renewable energy microgrid. The NPS 100’s gearless design, advanced blades, and lower rpm and tip speed all contribute to minimal noise levels, a priority for an exclusive resort. The average cost of power over the lifetime of a wind turbine is dramatically lower than that of traditional sources of power. The Hurricane Resistant™ NPS 100 has a flawless track record of surviving extreme winds in the Caribbean, including Hurricane Irene. Its reinforced blades, gearless design and zero incidents across its fleet make Northern Power turbines the most reliable small wind turbines available today. Sleek and graceful, the turbine’s low height profile and attractive nacelle fits nicely into communities and resorts.
What’s Next for Over Yonder Cay?
In fall 2013, Northern Power Systems will release a major firmware upgrade, further optimizing the performance of Over Yonder Cay’s wind turbines. Grid fault handling and reactive power capabilities are being improved to provide more precise control of turbine output regardless of the wind conditions. As a result they will be able to stay online longer at reduced power levels. This update will increase energy capture and turbine availability and will decrease operation and maintenance costs. Northern Power Systems is committed to improving its technology and value proposition by continually delivering product enhancements.