Talk about canary electrical system responds to the need to summarize a concept. In fact it is an entelechy. Today, each island has its own system and only Lanzarote and Fuerteventura form a common system as they are linked by an underwater interconnection. This small size makes specific solutions necessary to address the energy transition towards a sustainable model.
Gran Canaria and Tenerife have the largest electrical systems, and “they are up to 75 times smaller than the Spanish peninsular system and up to 1,000 times smaller than the European continental system”, explained the Director of Operations in the Non-Peninsular Systems of Red Eléctrica (REE), Juan Bola. If the reference is El Hierro, the proportion is reduced to 78,000 times less compared to Europe.
Why is size important? “It is a feature that makes their behavior more stable, being easier, in quotes, in large systems to ensure the supply of consumers, “explained Bola. It is simple to understand. A large-scale network offers different paths for the energy flow to reach homes and businesses, and a fault at a certain point can be saved with an alternative path to the usual one.
This is not the case in the Canary Islands, where the problem of a certain generation plant or the laying in some section can lead to an energy zero impossible to recover until the damage is repaired. Hence the importance of interconnections between islands; if the system fails in one, the other can help it.
In addition, the surplus megawatt hour production of renewable origin decreases. If when the demand falls – at night, for example – and the wind turbines have to be stopped in order not to cause an overload, it will have to be done to a lesser extent if the one with the most wind farms supplies the one with the least and the one connected through a submarine cable.
All these circumstances cause “that the energy transition in the Canary Islands must be carried out with elements other than those that are being used, for example, on the Peninsula,” he explained. John Ball.
And, furthermore, networks must adapt not only when we think of large generation facilities, but they must also enable integrate renewable energies from “self-consumption, that new element that the energy transition also brings and that makes it possible for end consumers to become an active agent”, as defined by the REE manager.
Advances in energy storage systems will allow a greater degree of penetration of renewables
Also research plays an important role. Advances in energy storage systems will allow a greater degree of penetration of renewables and reach new milestones on the road to decarbonization.
“We have laid the foundations to help make it possible,” said the delegate of the system operator in the Archipelago, about this obligatory and necessary reduction in the role of hydrocarbons in electricity generation, Ainara Irigoyen. She herself alluded to that process as a “urgent and priority task”.
The dependency on fossil fuels it has become even more dangerous in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Having to buy oil and gas from Moscow, in addition to being dubious ethical in the current context, also means that the sanctions imposed on Putin contain a boomerang effect.