Wind Energy for Kiritimati Island, Kiribai

Renewable energy Wind power Electricity Energy consumption Kiribati

Access to electricity is one of the tangible approaches to improving the social and economic level of citizens the world over. Elevating living standards through electricity access for rural areas in developing countries encounters, however, a severe fiscal barrier as developing countries, do not often have the financial capacity to enable that development from either the government side or the private sector. It is thus common that many rural electrification projects in developing countries are implemented through bilateral and multilateral aid funding. This research focuses on a solution for electricity access for one of the world's more remote Pacific island communities, Kiritimati Island, which is one of the Line Islands in Kiribati. The five main villages on this island currently have access to various isolated electricity grids utilising diesel generators managed by the Ministry of Line and Phoenix Development. In addition, private sector demand centres situated outside the electrified villages supply their own electricity using separate diesel generators. The petroleum fuel for the island is shipped direct from the ExxonMobil depot in Fiji and thus transhipment costs are significant. Load measurements were carried out for the main population centres on the island during a field trip. Wind speed measurements were accessed from an aid funded monitoring program which showed wind speeds higher than might be expected for an island so close to the equator. An average annual wind speed of 7.1 m/s measured at 33 meters above ground level was found for the years 2010 and 2011. An economic assessment using the HOMER software package found that the utilisation of a wind diesel system was very promising and could contribute to the energy security of the island using a supply mix including wind energy and diesel generators which would alleviate the current financial burden in regards to imported fuels and in addition reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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