Grid-Connected Renewable Energy Generation Toolkit – Case studies
Two case studies, in wind energy and solar photovaltaic energy, form part of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Grid-Connected Renewable Energy Generation Toolkit.
The toolkit is intended to help USAID mission staff and national decision makers understand and assess the relevance of policies and programs that have been used successfully in support of large, grid-connected renewable energy development.
It highlights key issues that must be addressed in the design of a renewable energy framework, and seeks to explain key concepts. Basic information is provided on renewable energy technologies, but the toolkit is designed for policymakers, not engineers. However, the toolkit contains extensive references to other sources that contain more technical detail.
The case studies
Photovoltaic (PV) power generation is clearly perceived by utilities as more expensive and more difficult to accommodate on an electric power system than coal-fired generation. This project essentially was viewed as an opportunity to ascertain if solar could generate additional value for the utility by creating synergies with a mini-hydro plant.
Because the water resources were insufficient for 24-hour operation of the hydro facility, the Cagayan de Oro PV plant was designed to deliver peak load during daylight hours, while water would be stored in a reservoir to generate hydropower during the night. The GEF was interested in this project’s capacity to demonstrate the role of PV plants in global CO2 abatement, as well as the possibility of conjunctive PV-hydropower operations.
The La Ventosa project was initiated in 2000 by a Mexican national who had been involved with the first Oaxaca wind farm project built by CFE in 1992. He approached some US-based individuals for assistance in developing the proposed project, and these individuals brought the project to the attention of Électricité de France (EDF). A joint venture was established between these individuals and EDF to proceed with the development of the La Ventosa project in 2001.
The properties involved for the project are controlled by two Ejidos, cooperatives of indigenous farmers, as well as individuals, and required 60 land lease contracts. During the planning process, it was determined that the Ejidos had not been registered properly with the Mexican authorities, so perfecting legal control over the property required clarification of the Ejidos’ ownership. The whole process to secure development rights, perfect the Ejidos, and secure the necessary permits and contracts to develop the project took over seven years. Four years of wind data were collected for the site to validate the wind resource. The lease term for the land is for 30 years.
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