The Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant on the Canary Island of El Hierro is a flagship project designed ultimately to provide the island with 100% renewable electricity and to demonstrate that hybrid wind/pumped hydro systems can be used to generate 100% renewable electricity in other parts of the world. GdV comprises a wind park with 11.5 MW capacity and a pumped hydro storage plant with 11.3MW capacity, installed at a total cost of €84 million. Details on GdV plant layout, operation and capacities are given in the September update. Previous posts on GdV are accessible through the El Hierro Portal. This short post documents a change in operating procedures at Gorona del Viento (GdV) that occurred shortly after 7am on May 16th (yesterday as I write). Figure 1 shows the way the system has so far operated in high-wind conditions. Wind output is curtailed slightly above maximum demand, diesel is run in baseload mode at about 1.6MW and generation is matched to grid demand by sending excess wind power to pumping:
Figure 1: GdV generation mix, March 9, 2016
Figure 2 shows the change that occurred at 7.10 am yesterday (note that I’ve flipped the order of wind, diesel and hydro to make it more obvious). Up to 7.20pm wind contributed around 1.5MW with diesel contributing 2.5-3MW and load following being handled by a mixture of wind curtailment and diesel, although the near-flat demand curve makes it hard to say exactly how load following was done. Then at 7.10 am wind power was abruptly curtailed at 0.9MW, +/- 0.6MW of erratic hydro generation was added to bring the renewables level back up to around 1.5MW, and diesel was used for load-following:
Figure 2: GdV generation mix, May16, 2016
I’ve been trying without much success to figure out exactly what GdV is trying to achieve with this change, but the fact that they made it suggests that they are still some way from developing an operating plan which will allow them to integrate large percentages of renewables with the El Hierro grid. The power plant and grid management experts among us will hopefully be able to come up with some plausible explanations.