The world’s largest microgrid – consisting of solar, energy storage, and diesel – will be built in the small Micronesian country of Palau by the microgrid and energy storage subsidiary of French energy and services company Engie..
The Republic of Palau announced it has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Engie EPS, which will be completing the 100MW microgrid, marking a crucial step on the road to accomplishing the renewable energy target the country set in the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Specifically, Palau has committed to securing 45% per centof its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 and securing a 22 per cent reduction in its energy sector emissions below 2005 levels.
With the completion of the new Armonia microgrid, Palau will be able to achieve its electricity goals over five years ahead of schedule.
“In the midst of the global energy transition, it is imperative that we address climate mitigation and climate adaption – at the same time” said President Tommy Remengesau.
“As we reduce our carbon footprint, so too should we reduce the vulnerabilities of our energy infrastructure in the face of rising seas and natural disasters.
As we generate cleaner energy, it must also be reliable, accessible, and economical for those citizens of the world who live on the front-lines of climate change. Our partnership with ENGIE has accelerated Palau’s transition toward a renewable and resilient future.”
The ARMONIA microgrid – Italian for “harmony” – will have a nameplate capacity of 100MW, made up of 35MW of solar and 45MWh of storage, combined with the country’s existing diesel generation.
Upon completion – expected by the end of 2019, after construction begins by the end of this year – Armonia will transform Palau’s electricity grid into a smart and integrated system, with the solar component providing at least 45 per cent of Palau’s total electricity demand.
“This 100MW microgrid will not be just one of the largest storage-enabled solar projects in the world but also a pioneering showcase for the whole global energy sector” said Carlalberto Guglielminotti, CEO and General Manager of Engie EPS.
“Universal, affordable and reliable access to clean energy will be a reality in Palau in few months, and we have the ambition and the commitment to replicate this model all over the world thanks to Engie EPS technology and Engie Group global reach” added Paul Maguire, the president & CEO of Engie Asia Pacific.
Beyond providing Palau with nearly half of their electricity needs, Engie says Armonia will also serve as a demonstration to other island nations of the value of microgrids and renewable energy to meet electricity demand.
Engie owned the Hazelwood brown coal generator in Victoria that was closed last year, as well as the Pelican Point gas fired generator in South Australia and other smaller facilities.