REdiscover: Soroban Wind Turbine (Bonaire)

This article – the third article in our rediscover series, I will take a look at the Soroban Wind Turbine in the small Caribbean Island of Bonaire. Bonaire has an area of 250 square km2 and is located 80 km north of the Venezuelan coast. Together with Aruba and Curaçao it forms a group referred to as the ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles.

With a small population of only 16,000, Bonaire’s peak electricity demand is approximately 12 MW. In 2004 after a major fire destroyed the island’s only diesel power plant, the government and local utility rented diesel generators to restore supply and immediately began crafting a plan that will allow Bonaire to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.

As a result, the island is now home to a hybrid wind/diesel system which consist of 12 wind turbines with a total capacity of 11 megawatt (MW), 5 diesel/biodiesel generators with a total capacity of 14 MW and 3 MW of battery storage.

The Soroban wind turbine installation formed part of the first phase in Bonaire’s 100 % RE penetration plan. In 2007, Enercon installed a single 330 kW wind turbine at Sorobon, on the southeast coast of the island, which replaced an obsolete wind turbine that had not been in use since 1996.

The Sorobon site was chosen because it is characterized by very stable wind conditions with an average wind speed of over 9 m/s. Also, the existing grid connection had sufficient capacity to accommodate one medium-sized wind turbine.

E33-330KW

The wind turbine generator is a Enercon E-33 – 330 kW. The E-33 is a gear-less three blade turbine with active pitch control (using single blade adjustment) . The generator is a ENERCON direct-drive annular generator that is connected to the local grid via an ENERCON inverter.

Next in our rediscover series we will look at the SCASPA Solar Farm (St.Kitts).

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