ABB microgrid to control solar, wind power on island of Aruba

The scope of ABB’s microgrid division has broadened to the Caribbean island of Aruba, where the Swiss-headquartered power electronics firm is to supply its microgrid solution to one of the main utilities on the island, WEB Aruba N.V.

With a peak energy demand of just 134 MW for its 103,000 inhabitants, Aruba’s electricity flow may be small, but its mix – comprising thermal, wind and solar – requires attentive management, particularly as the government has set an ambitious goal of meeting half of the island’s power needs with renewables by 2020.

ABB’s microgrid will allow for the integration of Aruba’s complex energy generating portfolio, with the aim being to maximize the penetration of renewable energy. To achieve this, the microgrid’s software can optimize operations in real-time using 24-hour renewable forecasting software and system load analysis, adjusting load and dispatch of each power source depending on time of day and availability.

The system also has a control system that can perform load shedding, enabling ABB to calculate the minimum load shed of power required in order to stabilize frequency during times of low renewable generation of lack of stored power.

“The ABB microgrid will support the island of WEB Aruba to integrate more renewables and maintain reliability and efficiency of power supplies to meet increasing demand for electricity,” said ABB head of grid automation, Massimo Danieli. “The embedded software, automation and control technologies will also facilitate 24 hour forecasts and enable a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”