Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Windmills on the Way

If you've ever been to Bonaire, you've probably noticed the big wind generator near Sorobon. We used to look at it to get an idea of the exact wind direction back when my son and I were windsurfing a lot.

Well, according to a news release I recently received, this wind generator is shortly going to be replaced by a new one. After some testing, a bunch more of these wind turbines will be installed to the northeast of Rincon.

When I was riding my bike through the area known as Morotin on my way to Washington Park on Jan. 27, I noticed a brand new tower with a bunch of instrumentation on it, so I think I have a good idea where the new windmill park will be.

There are two wind farms on Curacao and my guess is that it is an idea and technology who's time has come for Bonaire.

Here is the original article, for those of you who'd like to know the gory details.

bron EconcernEcoPower Bonaire BV, a consortium of Econcern, Enercon and MAN, has signed a contract with the Water and Energy Company of Bonaire (WEB Bonaire NV) to build a new wind turbine. This is the first step in a wind/diesel project that will supply the South Caribbean Island with 10 MW from wind and 13 MW from diesel. Bonaire requires approximately 12 MW at peak moments. The system will be able to provide the whole island with electricity by the end of 2008. It will drive energy prices down while at the same time reducing ^Bonaire's dependence on the fluctuating oil prices.Dirk Berkhout, member of the board of Econcern: "The cost of the wind/diesel combination is approximately 35-40 million dollars. We expect that some of this can be recovered via CO2 credits. The main objective of the first phase of the project is to gain experience with wind energy on Bonaire and to reduce short-term electricity costs. The finalised system design will rely on 40% of the total power requirement coming from wind. The remainder will be supplied with fuel oil, preferably biofuel. By 2010 it is conceivable that Bonaire will get all of its electrical energy from natural, renewable sources." EcoPower intends to install a new Enercon E33 wind turbine at Sorobon on the Southeast coast of Bonaire. An obsolete Nedwind turbine will be removed. The turbine has not been operational for the last 10 years. The Sorbon site is the ideal location for the new wind turbine, with its favourable climate conditions and the existing grid connection for one medium-sized device. The first wind turbine will start supplying electricity in the second quarter of 2007.The next phase - to be completed in the 3rd quarter of 2008 – will involve the construction of a 10 MW wind farm and a 13 MW diesel power plant. The wind farm (11 or 12 turbines) will be built on the Northeast coast of Bonaire, the windward side of the island. Each turbine has the capacity to produce 0.8 - 0.9 MW of energy. Under ideal circumstances, this wind farm alone could meet Bonaire's current electrical needs. The wind farm will be designed based on measurements registered by a Met mast that was installed in January. A new 13-MW diesel power plant will be built by MAN at the BOPEC site. The plant will be equipped to burn both conventional and biofuels.Econcern is the holding company of Ecofys, Evelop, Ecostream and Ecoventures. The mission of these European companies is to ensure `a sustainable energy supply for everyone'. Econcern delivers unique projects and innovative products and services for a sustainable energy supply. The Econcern group employs about 550 professionals in 15 countries.The new company Ecopower Bonaire BV will build, own and operate the facilities. It is also responsible for technical management during the first phase. MAN, the largest diesel engine manufacturer in the world, will manage the technical aspects involved in building the new power plant near BOPEC in the north-west corner of Bonaire. Enercon, the world's fourth largest manufacturer of wind turbines, will deliver the turbines.

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