Study: Palau Could Easily Transition To 30% Renewable Energy

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Workshop points to possibility of substantial solar generation

KOROR, Palau (Island Times, April 26, 2013) – The President of Palau met with representatives of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on April 12 to discuss results of a week-long IRENA workshop on renewable power for the renewable power for the island.

The workshop concluded that Palau could easily install photovoltaic (PV) power systems, using solar cells on rooftops and parking lots, to provide up to thirty percent of the island’s total electricity requirements. It also found that PV system could provide substantial savings for the island compared to power from diesel fuel.

President Remengesau expressed his strong interest in expanding renewable power options. But he stressed that it is important for electricity to be affordable, and renewable energy options should help to lower electricity rates.

The president also emphasized that increased use of renewable power must not in any way jeopardize the reliable service that Palau’s citizens and tourists deserve and expect from their electricity supply system.

Based on an IRENA-sponsored study of grid stability that was shared with the executives and engineers of the Palau Public Utility Corporation, Palau could transition to having thirty percent of its power generated from renewable energy sources with no adverse effect on grid stability and no required changes in operating procedures.

The grid stability assessment was performed by the multinational DIGSILENT consulting firm using time-tested Power-Factory software. The assessment relied upon detailed inputs from the PPUC technicians to build a complete and accurate model of Palau’s power grid. IRENA noted that the grid stability analysis for Palau likely be the first of many, with Palau leading the way for island’s around the Pacific and the world.

The visitor’s from IRENA also noted that the costs of photovoltaic power system have declined sharply in the last few years, as reflected in a comprehensive cost study that was released by the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre earlier in the year. In this context, the discussion touched upon upcoming bids for 50 kilowatts of PV panels at Palau’s track and field stadium.

IRENA suggested that Palau might be in for a pleasant surprise when the bids come in, expressing the hope that the costs could be a lot lower than on earlier projects. And with prevailing electricity rates of 46-cents per kilowatt-hour, it should be possible for solar power projects like this to save substantial sums of money for those who install them.

IRENA’S participants in the meeting included Jeff Skeer, Senior Programme Officer for Technology Cooperation, and Mirei Isaka, Project Officer for Innovation and Technology. Apisake Soakai, IRENA’S Consultant in the Pacific, was also present. Andrew Daka, Executive Director of the Pacific Power Association, participated as leader of the island interest cluster on power grid integration that has formed through IRENA’s Global Renewable Energy Islands Network, GREIN (pronounced "green"). The meeting was organized by Greg Decherong, director of Palau Energy Office.

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