RENEWABLE ENERGY

For over 60 years VINLEC has been exploiting renewable sources of energy for the production of electricity. Starting with the commissioning of the South Rivers Hydropower Plant in the early 1950s, the Richmond Hydropower Plant in the 1960s and then the Cumberland Hydropower Plant in the 1980s, VINLEC has long been a “green” company. Recent initiatives in the areas of solar energy, wind energy, hydropower and energy efficiency (EE) are further testimony of the company’s keen interest in producing energy from low cost, environmentally friendly sources as well as conserving energy.
 
VINLEC continues to work towards increasing renewable energy use on our power system and reducing the company’s internal energy consumption. In recent years VINLEC has undertaken a number of renewable energy (RE) and EE pilot projects in order to ascertain the benefits of various types of RE and EE technology. These projects include the installation of a 10kW photovoltaic system at the Cane Hall Engineering Complex, retrofitting of fluorescent light fixtures throughout the company with energy efficient bulbs and ballasts, installation of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) air conditioning units at various sites, and installation of LED street lights at Casson Hill and Arnos Vale. The measurement and verification aspects of these projects have allowed us to prove the value of the technology types utilised and provides us with data that could be used for planning larger projects to benefit our customers.
 
VINLEC has also undertaken studies in order to ascertain the feasibility of investing in wind energy and in further hydropower development. In 2005, wind resource measurements started being taken in the Brighton/Ribishi Point area. This has led to Ribishi Point being identified as a suitable site for wind power development. In 2009, a study was also done into the rehabilitation of the Richmond Hydropower Plant and the rehabilitation and expansion of South Rivers Hydropower Plant. The findings of this study have prompted VINLEC to undertake refurbishment projects at both plants, the first of which started in 2013.     
Recently completed RE and EE projects include the installation of a 177kW solar PV system at the Cane Hall Stores Building, the installation of variable frequency drives for the generator blower fans at the Lowmans Bay Power Station, and the testing of the energy consumption and light output of LED street light fixtures from various manufacturers. Presently underway is a project to install a 360kW solar PV plant at the Lowmans Bay Power Station.
 
Under consideration for future investment are a project to generate electricity through the recovery of waste heat at the Lowmans Bay Power Station, the development of a wind park at Ribishi Point, and the development of a second hydropower plant at South Rivers. VINLEC is also working with the government on geothermal energy investigations.
 
VINLEC has made a concerted effort to sell the idea of energy conservation to our customers through radio, television and print ads as well as through putting on or participating in various energy exhibitions. Additionally, we continue to encourage customers to invest in grid-connected small-scale solar PV and wind energy systems for their homes and businesses through our Microgenerator Interconnection Programme.
 
All of the aforementioned initiatives would be of benefit to VINLEC and our customers by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, thereby having a positive impact on the fuel surcharge and the environment.