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Solar-plus-storage for the Cook Islands

When it comes to energy storage, the small South Pacific nation of the Cook Islands has the Rolls Royce of systems.

The BMW-owned British brand, famed for its luxury cars, will supply three MTU EnergyPacks developed by its German subsidiary Rolls-Royce Power Systems for use with a micro-grid in Rarotonga, the largest and most populous of the Cook Islands.

Rolls Royce said all of Rarotonga’s 11,000 residents receive power from the micro-grid operated by utility Te Aponga Uira and the 4.2 MWh energy storage system – in three 40-foot containers with a total power output of 4.8 MVA – will provide a power reserve and grid support for the solar and diesel-powered network.

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The storage developer said the MTU Energypack is ideal for deployment in sites where space is at a premium and logistics demanding, for the integration of renewables facilities into power networks and the provision of frequency regulation and other ancillary services to utilities. The containers are available in three formats with nominal capacities of 2,600, 1,000 and 550 kWh. Rolls Royce said the battery system comprises scalable vertical racks.

The Cook Islands government wants renewable energy on all its islands by 2025. The authorities plan to roll out solar plants on five islands, part-funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB); European Union; Global Environment Fund; the government of Japan via the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (Pacific Environment Community Fund, or PEC); and the Green Climate Fund, through the ADB’s Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Investment Program.

The low-lying archipelago, one of the nations on the climate change front line, had just 7 MW of solar generation capacity at the end of 2019, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Source: pv magazine